Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What to do when you are stuck? - Writer's Block...

Writer's Block. These two little words send waves of terror through every writer, but unfortunately, it will happen. It happens to all of us. So what do you do about it?

I was recently asked this quesiton by a writer about what I do to help out my writers when, in the middle of their career, they find that writer's block raising its ugly head. Surprisingly, the ideas that I have for these career authors is the same for any number of writers out there.

Let's first begin with understanding what is going on with the idea of writer's block. In essence, this is simply a mental roadblock with your writing. Something is obviously getting in the way of that creative process. This may come from outside pressures such as work and home, or it can simply be a case of tunnel vision. You have been doing one thing for so long, finding the solution outside of the box is going to be tough. But the solutions are relatively easy.

  • DO SOMETHING ELSE - In this case, you stop writing and simply focus your attention on another process. It may be things around your house. It may be reading. And yes, it may be starting a new writing project. The idea is that when your mind becomes a bit more relaxed, the solution you have been looking for will come to the surface.
  • KEEP A WRITING JOURNAL OF STORY STARTS - What if you are struggling to find that next story and this is what's holding you back? In this case, a list of story starts is always a great approach. I am always thinking of new projects for my writers. As an idea for a great series pops up, I send it to them. Now it doesn't mean they will dive into the project, but they now have something to fall back to if they need something. This approach is also good when your editor needs some new proposals. Having a few of those paragraphs around is great. In terms of the writer's block issue, if you are stuck on one project, you can always go to this list as well.
  • TALK TO SOMEONE - Getting a fresh new perspectiveis always great. Obviously having an editor or agent to run to helps, but if you don't have that, run to that critique partner. Give them the story and tell them to rip on it. The idea is not to look for the grammar and punctuation, but to get a new perspective on the characters and the plot. They will often see things you didn't see.

As I said, we all face this issue. There are mornings that I am at a loss for what to write about here on the blog. Instead of sitting at the computer staring at the blank screen, I take time to really let my mind relax. A cup of coffee, a scan of the headlines and voila, I get an idea.

Now, get back to writing.


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