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Friday, September 12, 2014

Why We Get Writer's Block (and How to Overcome it)

(Listen to this tip on Youtube)

whendaylightstrikes said: So when you have writers block, how do you deal with it?

No, really though, so far I've found six reasons we get writer's block.

A Lack of Brainstorming
Usually when I get writer's block, it's because I haven't brainstormed enough. I'm stuck because I don't know what to do next. That's when I stop and have a few brainstorming sessions to get the ideas flowing. If you're having a hard time with your brainstorming, you could try brainstorming with someone, another friend or writer. He or she may have different ideas than you and one of them might spark. You might need to brainstorm more plot, a new character, or a new setting, depending on what you're stuck on.

The Wrong Turn
I've heard other writers say that if you get writer's block, it means you've taken a "wrong turn" with your story, and you need to go back a few pages to figure out where you strayed. Maybe you got writers' block because you sent your character to a Vegas hotel, so you go back and realize she really needs to go to a circus instead, or maybe you realize she fell in love with the wrong person, and she really needs to fall in love with the cowboy, not the police man.

Writing into a Corner
Sometimes you can get writer's block because you've written your character into a corner. Maybe you've had a kidnapper tie her up and you can literally think of no way she can get out of the situation. In that case, you may need to go back and rewrite the story so she doesn't get that stuck.

Writing as a Chore
Some writers get writer's block simply because writing is hard. The story might be fun at first, but eventually, they hit a point where writing is difficult. It becomes a chore. The writer can't figure out how to make it fun again, so she just lets the story sit there. And sit there. I just want to say that for me, I have to go find the answers to my writing problems; I can't just sit there and expect them to come to me. I try to treat my writing like a job, so I actually keep hours. That means I have to work on my novel no matter how difficult it is for 3-4 hours every weekday. It forces me to either push through the difficult pages or to find a solution to the writing problems I'm having that make these pages difficult. So sometimes you just need to apply your butt to the chair and shoulder your way through it.

A Loss of Motivation
Sometimes it's not really writer's block, but the writer losing his drive to write. He might just need a break, but the break should include watching or reading other fiction--particularly fiction he loves, because it can refuel his writing drive. I know that for me, if I'm continuously reading or watching fiction that I love, I feel motivated to work on my own, even when it's difficult.

Sometimes I get writer's block when I'm trying to be too perfect with my writing. It's like I want to get everything right all at once. In that case, I just need to give myself permission to mess up or overlook problems--I can fix them later. It helps if I fix only a handful of problems with each draft. If I try to fix all of my story's problems at once, I find that I can't really fix anything.
So those are my thoughts. I hope they help! Thanks for asking.


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