Some writers don't believe in writer's block, some simply refer to it as being stuck or hitting a wall. Whatever you call it, it's frustrating. You feel you've nowhere to go, can't push through. You glare at that blinking cursor or that blank page, sitting there, waiting for you. It can happen any time, either right after a submission, when starting something new, or during a work in progress. I've had both. I have my story to work on. I want to work on it, yet when I sit down in front of my PC, nothing happens.
I've started plotting out all my books, outlining everything that happens which has helped me a huge deal in getting it done, and motivating me, but what if you can't get the plotting? What if the story isn't coming to you? You've hit a wall before you've even started.
There's a reason all those great ideas, scenes, and pieces of dialogue come to you as you're falling asleep. You're doing your best to relax your body and mind, you're allowing yourself to do nothing but rest, something I know I find difficult to do during the day. I feel that if I'm just sitting there thinking, even if it's about my story, that I could be doing something, that I'm somehow wasting time, and it keeps me from relaxing. So what to do? I pick a slot of time where I tell myself I'm allowed to do nothing but think. I put my feet up with a pad and pen next to me, and I think about my story, what tone I want it to have, who my characters are. I ask myself all sorts of questions about them.
- Music and Setting the Mood: Another thing that helps me greatly, is music. I'll pick music that fits the tone of my story, and I start playing around with scenes that would fit the music. Sometimes that one scene will kick things off. For example, I was stuck on how to start Jack's book. This was messing with my mojo and the rest of the book. I allowed myself an hour to just sit and think. I knew I wanted to start out light and fun. I put on a jazzy, fast-paced song, fun with a bounce in its step, and BANG! A party, a Christmas party. The annual Silver Bells Christmas Ball where the first book ended would be a perfect place to open this book. As the music played, I could see my fellas enjoying themselves, and that got the ball rolling. What would be the consequences of this party? That led me to the events which would make up the second chapter. What were the results of that encounter? And it went on and on from there. The block was obliterated.
- Prompts: If music doesn't do for you what it does for me, think of a situation that would be relevant to your story, and write out a scene between your characters. It doesn't matter if you'll end up deleting the whole thing. It gets you into their heads. Write out a big quarrel between them, some major angst, or maybe a sweet scene, some kissing or making up. Find a prompt and just write. The point is to get into the flow of things again. Even if it's just dialogue. I often kick things off with dialogue. My fellas love to talk.
- Read: Another way to get the gears moving is to read. Read a story of the same genre as the one you're writing. Sometimes, taking time away from my characters and spending it with someone else's makes me want to get back to my fellas. Sometimes I'll go back and revisit a work in progress I haven't touched in a while, not with the intention of working on it, but because reading my writing sometimes gives my brain a jump-start.
- Allow yourself some time away: Telling myself I have to work on something is a surefire way to bring it to a screeching halt. Now if I take myself away to read or watch a movie, tell myself I can't write for a while, I find myself needing to get back to my story. The longer I pull myself away, the more I'm dying to get back to it. I allow myself to make quick notes, but I don't sit there and start working things out. It's funny how the mind works.
How about you? What do you do when you get stuck?