Step one: stop staring at a blank screen hoping it’ll magically appear with some words.
Step two: umm, I have no idea. Damn it, I thought you knew how to fix this?
No, you don’t? That’s why you’re here, hoping for some words of wisdom? Oh. Me, too.
I have the worst case of writer’s block right now. After four novels, three novellas, and several short stories, you’d think I would’ve figured this sucker out by now. Instead, it seems harder to overcome. I’ve tried starting my new (and last in the series) novel three times now. Today will be the fourth beginning I’ve written. And I’m still stumped.
However, all is not lost. There are actually several good tips to try when faced with writer’s block. A few have even helped me in the past and it sounds like I need to revisit them.
Take a walk. No, seriously, take a walk, get your blood pumping and let your mind drift. What you have to say is in there, somewhere, and maybe you just need some quiet contemplation. Make sure you have a pen and notebook to jot down notes.
Free write. Let the words spill from your mind to paper. Don’t worry about the content or how beautiful it sounds. You’re looking to open up your creativity, not stifle it with rules. Turn off your internal editor and critic. Find out what is swirling around in your brain. Maybe it’s useful, maybe it’s not. Who cares? At this point, it’s all about finding the zone.
Interview a character. When I was writing Dawn’s Keeper, I couldn’t fully understand the motivation behind one of my characters. Was he good, was he evil, was he in between? And because of that unknown, I was stumped. I couldn’t write the ending since I had no idea why he was acting the way he was. I pulled out my notebook and asked him questions. I was surprised by what he had to say and it cleared up a lot in my mind.
Use pen and paper. Have you noticed a reoccurring theme? Pen and paper, not computer, tablet, or phone. No electronics. I’ve had more success with overcoming writer’s block by writing it down instead of typing. When I’m stuck for the next words and staring at the computer screen gives me anxiety, I pull out one of my notebooks and write the next scene. It’s never perfect. In fact, most times it’s downright ugly, but it sets the scene.
Remember, you don’t need perfection on your first draft, or heck, not even on your fifth draft. Perfection is for after the story is written.
And never be afraid to remove what doesn’t work. I’ve ripped out chunk of my book. The last one, I removed several chapters, rearranged scenes, and wrote new ones. However, I don’t delete. I have another word file that is for removed scenes from each book. You never know when it might give you inspiration for another story.