Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Do you ever experience writer's block?

Recently I was on a blogtalk radio show and the host asked a question that had been submitted by a listener: do you ever experience writer's block, and if so, how do you overcome it?

There were two other authors on the show besides myself. You'd think that each of us would have a different answer to that question, but we didn't. We all pretty much said the same thing.

"I really don't get writer's block."

Sounds shocking doesn't it? I mean, isn't that part of writing...something that is set in stone and inevitable if you chose to write for a living? The answer to that question, is no. The term writer's block means different things to different people. Depending on who you talk to, it could mean something as simple as difficulty with writing a scene to something more vast such as drawing a complete mental blank.

Even still, it's not a foregone conclusion that if you're a writer you WILL experience writer's block. Can you? Sure. The main reason for that is because many things can cause writer's block including what's going on in a writer's personal life. If you're stressed about something, it can very easily flow into you're writing.

So why did each of us say we don't really get writer's block? Characters are kind of like temperamental children. If you try to force them to do something they don't want to do, then they're going to fight you. A lot. If you're lucky, every word you put on the page will be a struggle. If you're not, then you'll just sit there staring at your curser until your head is pounding in frustration.

I've been writing professionally for three and a half years now, and in that time I've met some great authors. Although our writing processes are all different, how we deal with difficulty writing usually falls along the same lines.

  • Are you stressed about something? Is life getting in the way? If so, take some time and deal with it. Trying to force a story when you're not in a good emotional place isn't going to work for you or your characters.
  • Try taking a walk. It's amazing what something as simple as getting away from your computer and raising your heart rate a little can do to get those mental juices flowing. 
  • Make sure you're writing the story your characters want told. If every word is a struggle, you need to reevaluate the direction of your story. 
  • Take a deep breath. Sounds simple, but writing should be enjoyable. You should be excited to see the story unfold on the page. If you're not, you need to figure out why.
  • Find someone you can bounce ideas off of. Close friends, beta readers, critique partners...their all good for this. Sometimes all you need is to start talking the story out with someone to get things moving again. 

What are some of your favorite tips for countering the dreaded 'writer's block'? Share it with us in the comments.

No comments:

Post a Comment