What is writer’s block? It’s probably different for everybody, but for me, it’s when I stare at a blank page for hours on end and can’t seem to think of anything to write. What’s usually the most frustrating about it is the fact that I have an outline sitting right next to me telling me EXACTLY what I need to write. But for some unknown reason, I can’t get the words on the page.
So what can you do when you’re mentally STUCK?
These 3 methods work for me, so I thought I’d share and hopefully they can work for you as well!
1. Take outlining to the next level.
I realize some people are Pansters and some people are Planners. I’m a Planner, but this advice works for both, especially if you’re stuck.
What I mean by taking “outlining to the next level” is: outline the next scene only. You don’t have to outline your entire book. If you’re like me, you already have, and usually each chapter has a brief summary of what’s supposed to happen in that chapter. But, for me, sometimes it’s the little details I’m unsure of that lead up to the main event of the chapter that get me stuck.
So, plan out the next scene in full detail. Writing a description of everything that happens in the next five pages will help you get past your block and write! This is the number one method that works for me!
If you're not familiar with the term "sprinting" it's when you sit down for set amount of time and write. No interruptions, no Internet surfing, no phone calls, just you and your computer or pad of paper.
If you have the discipline to do this on your own, you’re awesome.
But if you can’t seem to make yourself sit down and sprint I suggest you call or text a fellow writing friend and ask if they’d like to do a sprint with you. Chances are they’re going through the same writing struggle as you and will welcome a way to get out of it.
I usually do one hour sprints, but some people like doing shorter bursts like 10 minutes or 20 minutes. Sometimes even a 5 minute sprint can get you out of your writing funk.
If you don’t have a friend that’s around at the time, you can always find someone on Twitter using hashtags: #writingsprint #NaNowordsprints.
Also, Jane Espenson (one of the greatest TV writers of all time!!) does writing sprints on Twitter. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a rut and found that she was starting a writing sprint. Follow her @JaneEspenson.
3. Character rants.
This helps me when I’m in a crazy-super-block and no matter how much I outline or attempt a sprint, I’m still staring at a blank computer screen.
I call this stream of conscious writing. Wherever I’m at in my story, I just start writing whatever my main character is thinking. Rambling, really. Whatever comes to my mind: how she’s feeling, how she wants to get out of the mess she’s in, how she feels about the other characters around her, etc.
This is a good exercise no matter where you are in your project. It can help you connect to and understand your character better. Sometimes I get bogged down in plot and action, so it’s nice to remember that you’re trying to create characters that people can relate to and connect with.
So, that’s it! I hope these tips help you get out of your rut!
I'm a writer of YA fiction, fiction, comics, television and movies. I try to make all my stories full of jumbly goodness :-)