Writer's Block is a fairly typical dilemma - one which
most writers will find themselves in at some point in their writing career. The key to breaking writer's block is usually
a personal one. Most writers have their own special "block-breaker" that is unique to that person, but may be totally ineffective
for another writer. The trick is to experiment with which ones work best for you, and then, once you've cured your current
block, move on to prevention measures to stop it happening again!
Let's start with some
basic reasons for writer's block. Understanding a little about why you're blocked now might just help you to avoid becoming
blocked again in the future.
Too many writers put enormous amounts of pressure on themselves to
write a perfect draft on the first go.
Solution: Don't expect
to write perfect, clean copy first try.
Simply scrawl down all your
ideas for the story in random order - anything - just get that story out of your head. Then, during your edit, create a second
draft that adds in finer details, edits out the problems, fixes the missing characterizations etc. Then, on the third draft,
polish up every word until they all shine.
Problem: Can't get
past (x) amount of pages.
This is perhaps the
most common problem for writers. The beginning just falls onto the page. At a certain point, though, the writing dries up
and you are left with no ideas to run with.
Solution: Who says
you have to write a story from start to finish anyway?
the climax scene instead of the boring middle. That climax might just give you a few ideas to help propel the middle along
further. Skip a section of the story and come back to it later. Write the bits that interest you now - the hazy sections will
suddenly become more interesting when it's clearer to you what needs to go into them
Problem: Lack of planning.
every writer begins a story without really knowing where it will end. Many stories simply 'stop', because your mind does not
have a clear focus on where the story is going. The characters are ready to go, but the situations haven't arisen to get them
Solution: ~ Spend a little time in the planning
phase of your story.
Be clear on the basic sequence
of events needed to get your characters to that climax you have planned. Write up a short synopsis of your storyline and keep
it handy, so that you can reference it as needed. Following a rough outline can really help to keep your story on track
Problem: Created too difficult an obstacle for character to overcome.
Many stories also stop when the author has backed a character into
a corner and finding a way out for them seems almost too difficult, without resorting to contrived solutions
Solution: There is no such thing as "too difficult an obstacle".
You are the author. This is your fictional world. The tools, characters
and situations you choose to put into it can be altered or added during a simple edit. Go back through the story and add the
necessary props to assist your character when the time comes.
to Help Beat Writer's Block
All writers have
moments where the last thing they feel like doing is writing - especially when Writer's Block has reared its ugly head and
your muse has deserted you.
How, then, do you force yourself to sit down and keep writing?
Here are some thoughts
to help increase your creative flow and keep the dreaded writer's block at bay.
Time Management. Create a time table
for your writing and stick to it as rigorously as you can. Be realistic about the time set aside, and do not allow yourself
to get sidetracked into doing something else during this time. This one is difficult at first. Your mind will rebel, insisting that something else urgently needs your attention. Persist. After a relatively short amount of time,
your mind will come to recognize these times as 'writing time' and begin to cooperate.
Music. Listening to
music while you write can often open the creative center of the mind, allowing creative thoughts to roam more freely. Listen
to music that inspires certain moods that correspond to the style of writing you're working on.
You'll be surprised what odd things end up on a page after listening to odd styles of music.
Watch a movie. Many
writers are visually stimulated. Impassively watching the action take place before you is often a cue for the creative side
of the mind to kick into action. Reading has the opposite effect to this, as your logical center
must focus on translating the squiggles on the page into coherent meanings.
Take a walk. Wander around in the
park, stroll around the block, roam along the beach. Where ever you are, just walk. Don't take
a portable music player or a friend. This is thinking time for you. (I take my dog, a pen and a notepad) After a few minutes,
your mind will run out of noisy chatter and begin to meander through unfinished creative business. Many creative people report
this as being a great inspirational tactic.
Start a different
project. The human mind is an odd creature. If you are working on a
fiction novel and your mind will not co operate, work on something completely different. Begin a short story in a totally
different genre. Start work on a non-fiction article. Because the second project will eventually begin to bog down with details,
your mind should suddenly switch modes to a project that is less difficult - i.e. the first story! Details that were blocked
before will suddenly become very clear. Having more than one project at a time can work wonders with increasing your creative
Use a different medium. The 'tone' of some writing can vary dramatically with the medium used to record
it. For example, I like to type quickly during fight scenes - I type faster than I can write, so this works to keep up with
the ideas in my head. Try writing longhand into a notepad for scenes that require a little more time to work through. Talk
into a voice recorder for those stubborn ideas that just won't 'write'.
Take a nap. Lack of sleep can be
creativity's worst enemy. It's hard to function properly on any task without adequate sleep.
Spend time planning. Don't
stand in the shower - use the time alone in the steam to work through your next scene. Don't just drive - plan your next conflict.
Don't take a newspaper into the bathroom with you - take a notepad. Don't read a book in bed at night - write one!
writer's block cannot exist in an overly stimulated creative environment!