Every writer deals with this from time to time. They sit staring at the screen or in my case, the typewriter and think…ummmm…what next? I’ve had it happen to me plenty of times but when one is on a deadline, writer’s block isn’t just a nuisance, it can cost you a contract.
There are plenty of articles out there telling you how to overcome writer’s block. I don’t necessarily think overcoming it is the right way to look at it. There are reasons why you are blocked but it all comes from inside your head. With that being said, there are some ways I deal with writer’s block.
- Move onto something else – don’t fret. If you don’t have this part, you don’t have it yet. No big deal. Move onto the next big scene.
- Step away from your writing altogether. Sometimes, your head space simply needs a break. If you’re writing everyday, take the day off.
- Find a trustworthy sounding board. They may not need to know every detail of the story to be honest and frank with you. And make sure this sounding board is honest and frank and constructive. If they can’t help you talk through it, they’re not the right person.
- Write something else entirely. If I can’t think of another blog post, I write a chapter. If I can’t think of a chapter, I write a blog post. Change it up. Sometimes I take a freelance content job to just get the writing to flow.
- Oddly enough, research something related to what you are writing. Sometimes I am blocked because I feel I lack the knowledge to write about a certain subject credibly. So I look it up.
- Go read. I know this sounds like the wrong shift, but sometimes reading our favorite passages from other authors or reading a few chapters in the book you’re currently reading can assist you in relaxing enough to get past it.
In Addition –
If you can ask yourself the right questions and give yourself honest answers, you may find your reason for the block. If you know the reasons you become blocked, sometimes you can prevent it or find your own trick for getting out of it. I ask myself these three simple questions when I am blocked.
- Is the block cause by a fear of ______________? Heavy scientific topics or delving into an area of knowledge I am unfamiliar with can cause a blockage for me. So, I try to research things before I write.
- What am I really writing about? Sometimes, I have to take an angle I don’t like and that can be hard to justify to myself. But I do a lot of content writing. So, this one may not apply. Sometimes I just need to change my perspective about what I am writing.
- I am enjoying this story? OR Is it turning out the way I envisioned or outlined etc? Depending on how you feel in the story yourself, you can gauge whether it’s just a dead end. Maybe you need to abandon this one for a while to get back on track.
Don’t take offense please.
Writing isn’t always easy and if you’re not feeling it, give yourself the chance to take the day off. It’s okay. Sometimes I struggle because I am bored with a story I have rewritten more than three times. Step back until you’re ready to come back.
All in all, writer’s block is a manifestation in you. Nothing can really overcome that but you. But it isn’t necessarily something you have to overcome. That makes it sound like a ginormous process possibly including a therapist, a spa and in some author’s cases, lots of alcohol. You don’t have to suffer for the craft. If you are, maybe you’re attempting the wrong craft. Or maybe you’re trying to write the wrong story for you.
It always returns to this:
Write what you love people. Enjoy what you write!