Writer’s block visits each writer from time to time. Some bouts with this nemesis are short lived, while others consist of long stretches of nothingness—lasting hours, days, or even longer. It can be brought about when a writer has a loose outline or none at all and is uncertain of where they want the scene to go. But having a plan in place and a rock-solid outline will not make a writer immune to writer’s block. Disruptions, stress, and sometimes nothing at all can cause your creativity to come to a grinding halt.
I think of writer’s block like the hiccups—sometimes they just come on at the strangest moments and the more you try to get rid of them, the longer they last.
Whatever the reason for your mind drawing a blank, the trick is to move past it as painlessly as possible. Below is my Top 5 list of ways to get around that wall preventing you from continuing or beginning your writing.
5. Take a break: Step away from the computer or the tablet. Head outside for a walk to clear your mind or do something entirely different. As little as fifteen minutes away from the cursor of doom, could be just the thing to reset your mind so to say.
4. Pick up a book: Take up the next chapter of the novel you are reading now, or begin a new one. I find reading profoundly inspirational. My mind is able to drift away from the work at hand and glide effortlessly into another world. This could be just the refresh needed to ignite the keyboard.
3. Go back to your outline: Rechecking your outline can help reaffirm the goals of your next chapter. This kind of reminder can set you on your way. As much as we memorize our writing and outlines, there could very well be an overlooked detail that can be just the inspiration. If you don’t have an outline, sketch one out for this portion of the book. The act of jotting it down in pen, could very well set you on your way to getting words to paper.
2. Reread the last chapter: Going back and reliving that last scene has a very real chance of moving you forward. Where did you leave off? When is the next scene taking place? Are they in the same location? In asking yourself these questions, you may find that your answers are the start of your next scene.
1. Use Dialogue: Dialogue is my number pick here because it is my go-to when it comes to being blocked. Remember, this is your first draft, it doesn’t need to be perfect. Think about what your characters would say next & write it. The simple act of getting the words on paper and placing yourself in the shoes of these characters can help you through it. Once your conversation has unfolded, go back and add tone and descriptions. You can cut some of the dialogue if needed. Even if the scene evolves into something entirely different from how you started the scene—it’s fine, but it got you writing at least something.
These are my methods to get around the wall of writer’s block and they have worked for me thus far. (fingers crossed that it doesn’t change) What are some of the ways you overcome writer’s block? Share in the comments below.