Thursday, December 15, 2016

Over-coming Writer's Block

As writers, we always hate when we are faced with that deadly "writer's block." You know what I mean. You sit at your computer and that darn cursor just sits there and blinks at you, over and over again, taunting you and daring you to write something on that page. This is especially frustrating when you have a deadline looming or other things on your calendar that you need to get to, if only you can get through that next section of your story

The definition of Writer's Block, according to good old Merriam Webster is: "a psychological inhibition preventing a writer from proceeding with a piece". So, as we can see, this is all in our heads. But there are a few things that you can do to proceed with that story.

As you know, I am a firm believer in plotting out your story. No, this is not something that has to be a complete formal outline that is chapter by chapter and scene by scene, but it has to be something to give you some guidance as to where things are going in your story. This is actually one of the best ways to get though that sticking point.

First of all, if you know where you are going, then you DO know what has to come next! You have already plotted this out. But I know what you are thinking. "Scott it isn't that I don't know the next scene to happen, it is simply because I don't know the words that need to come next." Again, that plotting is going to help you and this leads to my second point.

Too often, writers get hung up simply because they are trying to hard to find the right words for that exact scene and that precise moment...

So skip that scene. Head on over to another chapter, another scene and work on that one. Because you have the story plotted out at some level, you can always work out of order. I am not necessarily saying to go write the final scene in the book, but move on to a section that you have a firmer grasp on.

As we all know, we tend to think of solutions to problems when we aren't actually working on the problem. I know I find my best answers between 1 and 3 in the morning, or when I am cooking dinner or doing the dishes. My mind is relaxed enough to work through the problem and find that solution.

Now, if you are someone who can't do that, then try a couple of other approaches. The first is to edit the work you have done. Doing this keeps your mind on the current project, keeps the same voice going that you might be stuck on, and keeps you heading in a forward direction with your story.

The second approach is to try a completely different project. Work on that synopsis. Write a query letter. Work on a story that has been begging you to be written.

The key to getting through this tough time is to just relax. Know that everyone goes through this and everyone finds a way through it. Although we might not like that feeling of coming to a screeching halt or that sense that the world is going to fall apart, know this...

Your agent is not going to hate you.
Your editor is not going to fire you.
Your writing career is not over.
You will get through this.

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