Thursday, April 05, 2012

Overcoming Writer's Block

by T.J. Bronley

This is not intending to be a "HERE ARE ALL THE SOLUTIONS TO WRITER'S BLOCK!" announcement. FYI, I think it's impossible to find what would work for every living soul in the world.

But I do wish to share a few tips and ways to overcome that brick wall which makes you want to forget writing and go see what's new on Facebook.

The following are a pair of suggestions for when you get stuck to the point that you don't know what's gonna happen next. There's no outline, you're not even sure where the story's going. Here are some tips.

1) Outline, or not. Some authors love outlines but have just been busy writing the idea that's been inside the mind. Now would be the perfect time to get started on that outline done. You're stuck, don't know where you're heading, use an outline to figure it out.

But if you don't like outlines, then I suggest you look farther ahead in the story. Set up what the characters are doing in a week, a month, maybe just the next day. Look at that goal point and see what you need to do to get your characters there.

2) Forget about it. Seriously, forget about this story for a little bit. Take some time to free write something else. Let that creative energy do something so it's still being used. Then, when you're ready, return to your WIP.

3) Perhaps you know where the story's going, there's just something wrong with the "right now" in your story. Jump ahead. Just this past week I wrote what I titled "Chapter X-1". Based off what I'm planning for my story, I know exactly where I want to end up for the last couple of chapters. I refer to my final chapter as "Chapter X", and I know this will not be the last one, but I'm planning on it being the one before it.

As much as I'm a grammar guru, I'm also a numbers nerd. And I love algebra. So I use these mathematical equations to my advantage. I use X as the last chapter in the book and I use N as an unknown chapter in the middle. If I have disconnected chapters, I use various letters and make sure that when put in alphabetical order, they'll line up the way they should when the story is completed.

So what do you do to overcome writer's block? Or are you perpetually stuck (like me most of the time)?

Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.


Wm said...

Whether you outline or not, some type of prewriting helps immensely in stymying writer's block, especially if that prewriting occurs at the end of your prior writing session so when you open up the document for the next one you have something to spark your writing.

James Duckett said...

All good stuff. I've also heard that free-writing can help as well. You just sit down and start writing. About anything... be it your story, your hangups, you grocery list. It kind of shakes out the cobwebs of writer's block to get the juices flowing.

Donna K. Weaver said...

I keep writing, but I write something different. Or do something absolutely ridiculous in the ms to kind of shake things up.

Or I just get on Facebook. lol