It happens to all of us who are writers. Sooner or later we hit the wall with our writing and we suffer through that old , well-known, feared syndrome called “writer’s block.” We fear it, we try to hide from it, we fight it, but more often we give in to it.
So what do you do when it hits you? Do you fight it? Do you give in to it? Lots of people say they know when it hits them and they try to shrug it off and get back to their writing. For others those blank, empty days of staring at the computer screen or playing games or just ignoring the latest work can start to pile up until they fear they will never write again.
When writer’s block visits me, I try not to give in, but with each passing day I don’t write I find the fear that I’ll never write again. That in itself can drive me back to the keyboard to prove that I can still tell a story, whether it’s a fiction work, or just a blog on not being able to write.
Here are some ideas for coping with writer’s block:
- Write something – anything – this is something I usually try first. If I find myself unable to face my characters and my latest stories, then I do work on a blog or try writing a lecture for one of my writing classes. Sometimes by doing that I find new inspiration for the fiction story I am working on. Often when teaching a writing class I find that reading over what some of those other students are doing makes me want to work on my own writing.
- Look over old stories – this is always a good way to get something finished. By reading an old story that I started several months ago, I find myself with new ideas that I hadn’t thought of before – maybe even something that had given me writer’s block and stopped me back when I was working on this story. If there is something that was stopping me in my current story, I can just set it aside and work on those old things and maybe get something done. Usually finishing a work will propel into the next book or story.
- Get away from your desk – a change of scenery can be like a breath of fresh air so try writing in some other location. Sometimes just sitting at your desk every day can seem like drudge work. I am a big fan of going to a restaurant or coffee shop with a note book and writing long hand for a while. Then when I go back to my computer and transcribe the pages it spurs me on. Of course I have also been known to take my computer to a library or coffee shop to write. Sometimes the change in scenery and just getting away from the house can spur creativity.
- Try a plotting brainstorming session – I love to do this with friends or a writing group. We will sit and toss story ideas around and I either jot them down or put them into the notes feature of my iphone. That way I have the ideas to refer back to later. I use this especially if I run into a knotty plotting problem that needs extra help. People love to play with story ideas when they don’t have anything invested other than offering their opinion.
- Have a dialogue with characters – sometimes I realize that my characters are either not fully formed or I don’t know them as well as I thought I did so they are refusing to take those next plot steps. That can lead to a dead stop to the plot. I just can get that next scene written. Often a little conversation with those characters can pull out a new idea or make me realize just what is ailing that character. Then after a while I find myself getting back on track.Sometimes it just takes getting away from things for a while. I will put something down and let it sit. Sooner or later those characters will start yelling and I’ll have to come back and finish their stories. I’m never sure what stops me from writing, but I know any or all of these things can pull me back. Sooner or later that will lead to THE END getting written!