Monday, August 1, 2011

Kick the writer's block habit…

Welcome to my first post.
I have joined this group with the intention of sharing the golden nuggets of wisdom I've been collecting on the journey to getting published. Are they 14k or fool's gold?
I’ll let you decide..

One of my critique group members posted a question regarding writer's block, here are my thoughts:

Writer's block is an expense most of us can't afford. A frustrating stall in our progress that leaches our productivity and often snowballs into self-doubt. With a full time job and an even fuller family life, every minute I spend in front of the computer has to count. So, I needed real life tools to use when I 'hit the wall'.

I believe writer's block occurs when you have played out a scene to its fullest and don't know where to go next, and/or you have grown bored with the sagging middle of your story. (If you are bored, the reader will be too.)

First things first, make sure you have a goal in mind. It is easy to loose your step if you have no clear destination. You don't have to know which path you're going to take, but you do have to know where you are headed.

With that in mind, if I just can't figure out what comes next, sometimes simply switching the POV is enough to reenergize the story.

If not, I break out the big guns. I like to throw a runaway bus at my characters. Usually, a runaway bus…on fire…full of nuns will cure any stagnate story. It doesn't have to be a bus, but you get my drift. Blindside your characters in the most unexpected time, which is NOW because if the writer isn't expecting it, the reader definitely won't be either.

Since I have started using these tools, I have not suffered from writers block at all, which is fantastic, because I used to get it so bad it would stop me for days, even weeks. Then I would loose the thread of my story and the whole thing would unravel.

If you are stuck right now and decide to throw a runaway bus at your characters, let me know how it works out for you.

Or if you have a great cure for writer's block, post if here so we can all keep writing.

Quote of the Day:

"If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun."
-Katharine Hepburn


Jennifer Lowery (Kamptner) said...

Great first post Brenda! Lia's blog on 'road blocks'-as she called it- was awesome too. I find that when I am blocked it's because I went wrong with a character. Usually with a GMC. For me, it usually ends in deleting, deleting, deleting and starting over until I get it right. The curse of being a panster. But, I love it. I'll try the bus thing too-it's a good idea :)

Brenda said...

Excellent post, Brenda. Writer's block stinks. For me what works is stepping away from my computer and taking a stroll around my yard, deadheading flowers, pulling a few weeds--basically allowing my brain to just wander. Usually it circles the problem--what's stopping me from writing--and eventually I come up with a solution.

D'Ann said...

Writer's block is a bitch. And you're right, it's usually from a wrong turn. Good suggestions!

Sheri Fredricks said...

I haven't had writers block since I started making outlines (plotting). But walking around my house and yard really help me stay in the writing game. Glad to be blogging with you!

Martha Ramirez said...

Good tips, Brenda! I LOVE the quote. So true!

Lisa Kumar said...

As a panster, I have this problem a lot. GMC always knocks me off course, but somehow I manage to get back on track -- sonner or later;)

Thowing a curve ball at characters or just deleting what doesn't work is usually what I do to conquer writer's block.

Therese Gilardi said...

interesting post, brenda. you're right - the key is to do something. anything. the only way writer's block can beat you is if you surrender to its cry to do nothing.

Casea Major said...

That's a great idea, Brenda. Wonderful 'first' blog. I'm sure I will use it at some point.

Tabitha Blake said...

I use to have terrible bouts of writer's block but that was when I was a panster. Now I plan all my books out from start to finish. But if I do hit a stand still then that usually means I went off course somewhere. Thats when I back track and figure out where my story went down the wrong path. But I also think if I push too hard for too long my brain shuts down and needs a break. When I start a new story I will write everyday for weeks and then my brain overloads and I need a well deserved break. There are so many reasons for WB and many ways to deal with it. It all comes down to finding what works for you.

Ciara said...

Great tips. :)

Jenna said...

Being a plotter I rarely get writer's block, but if I have a problem of any sort (how do I make this happen, what would be the motivation for this action which has to happen), I get in my car and drive.

I can either have the radio on or off, though it's best if I keep one song on repeat and just tune it out. Between that and driving distracting various parts of my brain, what's left can focus on the problem and almost always sort it out.

Excellent first post, Brenda!

hotcha12 said...