5/10/11

Knocking Out Writers Block


I'm curious how others get over their writer's block. I have a project I was working on and the creative juices just were not flowing. It felt like a wall that I just could not knock down. I ended up working on a new story idea that I have and I have been writing more than I have in a long time. So I'm wondering what other writers do to get past the writers block?



Every writer has their own secrets for overcoming writers block. My favorites are to use a writing prompt to get the imagination flowing or to purposely write bad prose—both options get me writing, and for me, that's the important thing.

But sometimes, even tried and true doesn't work. Here are a few links to ideas.

10 Tips for Overcoming Writer's Block

How to Overcome Writer's Block—15 Tips

LEO: Overcoming Writer's Block

Creative Writing Prompts

Writer's Digest Writing Prompts

Quotes on Writer's Block


Readers, what do you find helpful?

12 comments:

Donna K. Weaver said...

What a great list of resources! Thanks.

Susan said...

I'm just realizing that I think writer's blocked is sometimes caused when we don't have enough conflict in our story. If there's no conflict we aren't excited to write, the same way the reader won't be excited to read. You should study up on using conflict in your story. I heard a quote this weekend at the LDStoymakers conference. "Once your story is happy, it's over."

SBN said...

I agree with Susan, conflict is good. I read an interview done to Rohal Dahl and he said that he makes sure that when he's done writing for the day, he ends on the climax or a good part. So when he picks it up again, he's exited to finish.
Thanks for the leads!
www.sbniccum.com

Jolene Perry said...

Music - I have playlists for my projects. And that helps.
Also - find a shiny new project to take your brain off the old one for a while.
Interesting how many different methods there are out there.

Paul West said...

I find when I'm stuck, if I go back a few pages and edit what I wrote yesterday or even the day before, by the time I get to where I left off I recall what I wanted to write and can keep going.

It works for me.

Tristi Pinkston said...

When I get really stuck, I take that to mean that I'm not working on what I should be working on. I always head for the project that's speaking to me. If nothing's speaking, I take the day off.

Anonymous said...

I think what Susan and ESPN mean when they write "conflict", is actually plot. Plot is created comes from the hard work of thinking through all your ideas and finally coming up with obstacles, challenges, flaws, enemies, circumstances, etc. that require your character to act, or change, or defend or attack. The details of your plot are sometimes even harder to figure out: details of plot are the singular motivations that inspire your character to take action. Or not to act. Let's say you come up with an obstacle, or a challenge or a flaw or an enemy or a circumstance. What motivates your character to respond or not respond? Which leads us to one more important point. Plot (and the details of plot) are tied to Point of View. Character A will react to an event in your story very differently than Character B. They both have different motivations. It may be that your writer's block stems from not figuring out a decent challenge, enemy, circumstance or character flaw. But if poor plotting isn't the problem, have you figured out what motivates them to action? Have you created believeable details of plot? If that's not it, what about looking at your point of view character? If you switch to another point of view, that may change the character motivations for action, and your off and writing again.

It just so happens that an editor friend asked me a related question about this just today. This is what I sent her. If it helps, use it. If not, I'm signing this anonymously so you won't blame me for hating the advice:

The idea for a story or a novel is not a plot. An idea for a story is limited in content, but vast in possibilities. But by examining those possibilities major and minor plots are suggested. Plots are the obstacles that a character must over come. They are usually detailed and specific. An idea is usually abstract and general. An idea may suggest a plot, and the existence of a plot can promote the development of new ideas, which can then promote secondary plot lines. The new plot lines depend upon how the writer uses POINT OF VIEW. Ideas for stories and the development of plot is tied very closely to POINT OF VIEW. Each character will view the same set of circumstances differently and work from very different motivations derived from any story event. Ideas do not contain stories. And a sequence of ideas DO NOT CONTAIN PLOT. If the writer does not do the difficult work of INVENTION, great ideas will lay fallow. Plotting depends on the author's skill in probing the depths of an idea until the possibility of a plot or story is suggested. THE AUTHOR MUST PROBE AND IDEA UNTIL SHE UNDERSTANDS HOW AN EVENT OR SITUATION WILL MOTIVATE A CHARACTER and in what direction that motivation will take the character.

Charlie Moore said...

I rarely feel the effects of writer's block, but ... I do experience long stretches of laziness.

Paul West said...

That's it!!! I've often wondered about that.

Debra Erfert said...

I always read the last chapter I wrote, and also read over the "Thread notes" I have at the bottom of my WIP before I begin a writing session. So far I haven't had the typical writer's block, but like Charlie, I have experienced days where laziness was my biggest problem in getting started.

brendajean said...

I loved the tips for overcoming writer's block. It especially helps me to change my surroundings. A laptop is the best weapon. It can go with you in the car, to the park or in the hammock!

Alex Hoagland said...

Usually, I too will read the last few pages/chapters I've written before diving in again. But mostly, when I have writers block, I blog. It gets me in the writing mood without anything being at stake. You can't mess up any previous work you've done with a bad blog. (Not that mine's bad--go check it out!)

http://chaotic-gibberish.blogspot.com