How I Deal With Writer’s Block
What do I do when I get writer’s block? I write.
Sounds silly, doesn’t it. I know, writer’s block, by definition, means that you can’t write, nothing’s coming, the little movie or dialog in your head just won’t play.
Here’s what I mean.
Sometimes I get to a point in a story where the images just won’t come. I’ve got two really great scenes, but there has to be something to tie them together, a bridging scene. Or I just hit a point where the story, crystal clear up until this point, just – won’t go forward. I can see what has to happen up ahead, but not how to make the story go there.
So what do I do?
I sit around staring at a blank notebook page – yes, I’m old-school, I actually write the darn things out long-hand, but the whys and wherefores is another post – for days, sometimes weeks. I write other parts that come fairly easily, but there it is, a big pothole in my text that I can’t get around.
I stare at it, wishing I had rocks and liquid asphalt, to fill it.
Then I bite the bullet and pick up the pen and just write something. Anything. Anything about the current character I’m working on, even if it sucks. And it does suck, sometimes, but what I’ve found is when I reread to edit, I also polish out the rough and sucky parts anyway, so it doesn’t matter if it sucks. It’s going to get changed, smoothed, refined, so let it suck, as long as I get past that part. And it works. Sometimes what I write at those time is truly horrible, childish, incomplete, or totally unsuited to the story. But other times I surprise myself, and it is good, or even brilliant. I know there are those writers out there who want to get the story whole and perfect before they put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard. It works for some. But for others, especially those who get stuck, like me, this is my unsolicited advice, and the two cents it is worth, to go with it.
If you are stuck, at the middle, the end, or even the beginning – especially if you are stuck – write something, anything, sucky or not.
Start with the phrases:
“And she started...”
“And then he...”
“He looked up...”
“She shook her head...”
Or for the beginning of a story:
“Annabel (or whatever your character’s name is) woke up to a bright new day (turn, rote)....”
“Deliden opened his eyes, trying to figure out where he was...”
“The world seemed made out of (glass, smoke, flame, ice, spices, etc)...”
You get the idea.