Yesterday I received an email from a fellow writer asking what I do when I have writer’s block. Once I finished the answer, I thought I might as well blog it in case it helps anyone else. So here are the 6 things I do when my characters stop speaking to me…
When I’m stuck I generally do one of the following:
1) Go for a long walk. I like to be out in nature with my dog, so I take her to the woods where I can really be alone with my thoughts. I try not to think about the book for a while, but just let my mind wander.Eventually I start daydreaming about the story until it picks up where I left off.
2) Re-read what I’ve written. From start to finish. I helps me connect with the characters and ask myself if what I have them doing is realistic for each of them. Can people relate to it? Is there something I don’t like about the story that is getting me stuck? This also helps if I have lost confidence in what I’m doing. I might have started having doubts about the story, my ability to write, etc. Going back over it allows me to see that I do like what I’ve written so far and that I can do this.
3) Read blogs about writing/writers block, etc. If you check out my tweets, I’ve sent quite a few links to blogs that were really helpful to me.
4) Move On in the Story. Skip the part you are on and write a scene that will come later in the book (and that you know what is going to happen). This can help because you are still making progress. With my second book I had to do this a couple of times. I wrote myself into a real corner and it took me a while to figure out how to get out of it.
5) Leave it for a while. Maybe a day or so. Do non-writing things. Clean out a closet, go out with friends, do yoga, cook a great meal. Getting rid of some project that I have hanging over my head can help to clear the space it takes up in my mind so I can get back to writing. Doing things I enjoy relieves stress, which helps the process flow again when I am ready to sit back down.
6) Have a Little Faith. Trust that the ideas will come flooding back in very soon. They will. You started writing because you have a story to tell. You’ll finish it. Worrying about writer’s block only serves to block your mind and take your thinking from the creative right brain to the lower level thinking of the amygdala, which is what we use when we are in fight or flight. Ever heard of an author writing a novel while being chased by a bear? Me neither.
So believe that you’ll get back into the groove any minute now. Have a glass of wine (or a tea if that’s your thing). Be confident. The story is already in you. When you relax it will come out.
And that’s about it. Post your comments below if you have any tips to share with others. I’d love to hear from you!
All the best to you and yours,