Monday, September 7, 2015

Writer's Block

Writer's Block - the condition of not being able to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing.
I recently experienced the worst case of writer's block I've had since I became serious about writing. Sure, I've had moments when I've been too busy to put down new words--kids' events, family vacations, work commitments... But this was different. I literally sat in front of my pc screen for hours, my mind complete mush. So I reached out to some of the most talented authors I know--my amazing friends and CP's. This is some of what they suggested.

Tori Kelly: Reading helps me every time. I always get inspired by seeing others who do it so well.  Also, I never write scenes. This is a trick Brian Farrey Latz shared at a SCBWI conference. Free yourself to write a scene that will never go into the book. Mostly writer's  block is about being too much of a perfectionist.

Elle E. Ire told me that when she experiences the dreaded block, she watches a show that inspires her, reads a book in its entirety, and / or forces herself to write a crappy scene just to get through it. She might also jump ahead and write a later scene she really wants to write to get going again and then go back and connect the dots. Or she'll just let herself take a break from writing. Unless she has a deadline, she gives herself permission to do that once in awhile.

Vivi Barnes: When writer's block strikes, I have a glass of wine and watch mindless episodes of the Bachelor. Wish I was joking, but... In my opinion, having writer's block isn't about having nothing to write about; it means that something isn't working. Literally--a block. Look at what's stopping you and see if anything can be adjusted. Cut a chapter out, go a different direction with a plot line, head off the beaten path a bit and see if it makes a difference. If all else fails, there's always the rest of the wine bottle and episodes of Bachelor in Paradise! 

Rina Heisel recommends taking a walk alone, reading in a similar genre (and think to yourself as you read through it--how would you do it), or binge watching an awesome TV show. Also, she says you must allow yourself to partake in these activities GUILT FREE reminding that it's really an investment in your process.

Diane Bohannan: I force myself to sit alone with the computer. We stare at each other for a long time. Then I type whatever comes to mind. It isn't always a story or a blog, sometimes it's just thoughts. Let the thoughts move in whatever direction they want to go. Write anything and don't judge yourself on what comes out. The first stuff might not be wonderful, but it'll uncork your brain.

There are tons of fantastic blogs online with great tips.  Peggy J Sheridan directed me to this awesome article author Dorian Cirrone wrote on kicking writer's block. Here's another great post by author Nathan Bransford explaining why he doesn't believe writer's block actually exists.

So, if you've been experiencing the inability to write, I hope some of these suggestions and articles help you. I'm very happy to report that I'm finally writing again and am almost done with my WIP. I'm so happy that I'm a part of a such an amazing writing community. The authors I've met online, my own amazing writing groups: the OWLS and the Revision Warriors, and the SCBWI organization are always available to provide guidance.

1 comment:

  1. Bookmarking this for the next time I have writer's block! Thank you so much, Marlana for compiling a great list of advice! :)