It’s happened to all of us: Writer’s Block! But never fear; this is an opportunity, not a problem. Check out these 10 simple tips and turn your brick wall into a plot springboard!
It’s happened to all of us: an ugly, immovable brick wall smack in the center of the novel we’re writing.
Or maybe it’s not in the center. Maybe it’s just as the book was getting good. Maybe it’s this big giant hump right at the beginning (yikes! Yes, I’ve been there).
Let me let you in on a little secret: that wall isn’t blocking your way. It’s forcing you to pause, to think. It’s forcing you to make your novel better, richer, fuller, and realer.
Check out these ten simple ways to defeat writer’s block… and keep writing. Your story may surprise you.
Ten Simple Ways to Defeat Writer’s Block
Seriously. Ask for help from the One who gave you the talent and desire to write in the first place. Make sure you ask Him to help you honor Him through your writing, while you’re at it, and don’t forget to say thank you!
Take a multivitamin.
A lot of fatigue and mental fog is caused by vitamin and mineral deficiencies. You could also try going outside and soaking up that Vitamin D, or drinking Gatorade or some different herbal teas. If energy and mental sluggishness are a persistent problem for you, don’t neglect to talk to your doctor.
Sometimes, just getting up form the computer and moving around is enough to get the juices flowing. You could try exercising or going for a walk, or you could just switch over the laundry and load the dishwasher– whatever moves your body and takes the pressure off your brain for a minute. You might be surprised what pops into your head.
Take a shower.
Ever hear the term “shower thoughts?” Why is it that while we’re scrubbing down, all kinds of interesting and random things occur to us?
Take a nap.
Or at least, give yourself permission to. As you close your eyes and shut down, as your mind starts to drift, as thoughts and scenes and chapters and aspects of worldbuilding float between your ears, make sure you also give yourself permission to sit up and start jotting things down!
Especially for those of us subsisting on caffeine, which is a diuretic, dehydration is another common cause of lethargy and mental fog. Take care of yourself!
Ok, so you don’t know what happens next… but I bet there’s a super intense scene you’ve been mulling over for the climax of that story you could indulge in for awhile. Or maybe you can pit two characters in an argument and just see what happens. Maybe you’ll write something you can use, even if it needs changes later; maybe you’ll at least come up with some ideas for foreshadowing and direction. Play around a little.
Write Behind the Scenes.
One way to figure out what direction your characters should go is to spend some time with the forces that are pushing them around. Make your villain a game plan. Write a conversation that your main character will never actually hear, but which might still be referenced by minor characters and affect how they behave. Give minor characters desires and think about how they might interact with the goals of your primaries. Bonus: you can save these as tantalizing tidbits to offer your newsletter subscribers, or release them in phases to hype the release of the whole novel.
I’m NOT suggesting you plagiarize, but if there’s a book you’ve read with scenes that accomplish what your trying to accomplish, go read those bits and pick it apart. Figure out why that other author’s scenes worked, or what turned you off. When I need to write a complex battle sequence with a lot of moving parts, for instance, I’ll re-read bits of the Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher.
React instead of act.
Stop pushing your characters to move towards a specific outcome. Stop thinking to yourself how to MAKE them do something in a way that’s believable. Give them room to simply REACT. What has already gone on? How should your character feel about and respond to that? Who else should be reacting and how will that interfere with the main character’s response? Let your pantser flag fly and just see what happens when you let your characters take the lead.
So there you have it: ten simple ways to defeat writer’s block in any genre. Have any suggestions of your own?
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