Conquering Writer’s Block

writers blockI’ll start off by saying, “There’s no such thing as writer’s block.” Come on, say it with me, “There’s no such thing as writer’s block.” Now you’re wondering that the heck was the issue you encountered when you thought you hit a wall in that story you were working on. There are several things you can call it, but don’t call it writer’s block. It doesn’t exist! Read on and I’ll make you a believer.

You’ve been working on a story and have come to a point where you just can’t seem to move forward or you’re not sure what your character is going to do next. You put the manuscript aside and then came back to it and…still nothing! Several things can happen when you’re working on a story. You lose motivation. You get distracted. You find that a story has gone into a direction other than what you intended. You’ve decided that you want to shift gears.  Whatever the problem is, it’s an indication that it’s time to exercise and expand you writing muscle. Here are few tactics that get past that thing that you think is writer’s block.

Break the Mold

It may be time to do something different. If your writing ritual is to wake up, get a cup of tea, and write for two hours every morning, then try writing at night. Perhaps writing at a different time of day will allow your experiences for that day to impact your writing. It’s possible that you could be in a different mental space depending on the time of day. Break out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself by doing something new. Change your scenery. If you write at home most of the time, try going taking your laptop to the park, the beach or your local Starbucks. Use the scenery, people, or other external influences to add a different spin to your story. Perhaps your character takes a trip to one of these places. What can happen next? Who can they run into?

Re-Enter the Room from a Different Angle

More than likely, you’ve been viewing your story from a certain perspective. When this happens, think of your story as a room. If you’ve been getting to the story through the front door, why not sneak in through the back window. For example, try a new angle. Allow your character to experience a change of perspective and see things differently for once—even if it’s temporary. Think about how their change in perspective can spark new life into the story.

External Inspiration

This is one of my favorite tactics and one that I find works very well when I conduct workshops on this subject.  Cut out interesting words, headlines, and titles from newspapers, ads and magazines. Store them in a box or envelope and when you find that you’ve hit a wall or feel like you’ve run out of ideas, pull one out of these headlines to help ignite a little fire under your story. For example, you’ve clipped the words “moving sale,” perhaps it’s time for one of your characters to make a move, either literally or figuratively.  In one of my sessions, an attendee used a clipping that read “house calls.” She used that to move her story along by having the antagonist show up at other character’s houses.

There are more ideas where this came from. However, for the sake of keeping this post from turning into a short story, I’ll provide those additional tactics in the next issue. In the meantime, if you find yourself dealing with the thing you call ‘writer’s block’ put some of these tactics to the test. I’d love to hear how they work out for you.


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