Attack of the
Dreaded Writer's Block
Block - the dreaded state of being unable to get words
out of your head and onto paper (or screen) in a logical
Every writer has faced it at some point, in one form or
another. Whether you simply cannot free your 'muse'
enough to get the words of of your head, or whether
everything you write ends up in the wastepaper bin, it is
still a form of blockage that most writers fear and
The good news is that Writer's Block is never permanent.
The better news is that you can take steps to be sure
Writer's Block never strikes again!
Always have a basic idea of what you will write before
you sit down to the task. Think about this in the car (or
bus) on the way home. Plan out the next chapter at work.
Create the upcoming conflict while you are in the shower.
Talk over the impending scene at dinner (and if you are
alone, tell the dog/cat/plant - it doesn't matter!)
However you arrange it, by the time you sit down to write
it, the scene will be almost perfected in your mind.
Writers block cannot exist if you've already planned what
you are going to write.
Keep a file or notepad of ideas that strike you. Take it
with you everywhere you go and write down every little
thing that seems interesting. It might not fit into the
story you are working on, but it just may inspire
something else later on.
Create a realistic schedule for your writing time, and
then stick to it as rigorously as you can. Don't allow
yourself to be distracted during this time. Humans are
creatures of habit, and if you allow your writing time to
become habit, then you will find it harder to miss out on
that allotted time. You will also find your mind will
co-operate by dredging up at least something worth
Never work on only one project at a time. This sounds
like the easiest way to distract yourself, but it works.
The mind is a strange creature. If you actively begin
three projects at once, then anytime your mind refuses to
cooperate with one storyline or character situation,
switch to a short story or article instead.
Yet again, the mind is a strange creature. Before you sit
down for your "routine writing time", go for a
walk, visit friends, watch a movie. Distract your mind
from the immediacy of what you are writing, and you will
find that solutions to whatever it is that has you
'stuck' will suddenly appear.
Read everything. Read books you've read before because
you love them. Read really bad books. Read outside your
usual genre. Read advertisements on cereal boxes.
Combinations of words are specifically put together to
elicit a proscribed response. The more you read, the more
responsive you will be to the stimulus, and the easier it
will be for your Muse to fire up again.
- Write More!
This is the strangest solution to writer's block of them
all. Let's call this one "Practice Writing".
Try just doodling aimlessly, writing about your day,
scribbling background notes on your characters, holding
fake 'interviews' with your protagonist, or whatever it
takes. Your mind is a powerful thing - it will soon get
bored with aimless scribble, and provide details enough
to continue with whatever piece you were stuck with.
Copyright Lee Masterson. All rights reserved.