Welcome Stephanie Campbell to the blog today! She has some good advice that all writers can use…
You are sitting at your computer, typing away. The scene is coming along great. You feel your blood burning as the words pours out of you and then, “Wham!” it happens. You can’t think of what next to write. It’s like you ran straight into a brick wall going two hundred miles per hour. You’re gasping for air, scrambling to find the momentum that you just lost, but the creative air has been pushed from your lungs.
That is something I would like to call writer’s block. It comes in many forms, in many ways, but it doesn’t matter how it hits you—for a writer, it’s a kick in the gut. The lucky part is, though, that there are ways to overcome writer’s block, which every writer should be familiar with. After all, if it hasn’t happened to you, it will. Cue the sinister laughing.
1) You’ve hit a scene that you can just NOT finish.
Do not despair. Go back over your work and see what you’ve done so far. Read through it. See if you can gain that excited momentum that you just had. If not, this could be a sign of Writer’s Burnout.
2) You can’t come up with ideas.
This one can be fun to fix. At least, for me. I am the creepy girl who sits in the backs of movie theaters and doesn’t watch the movie—I watch the person sitting next to me. It’s a good thing I’m too small to appear threatening, or else I would have gotten beaten up by now.
Now, I’m not telling you to be a creeper like me. I’m saying examine people’s lives. Put yourself in somebody elses shoes. Also, have fun with it. Do writer’s exercises. Invent some ridiculous main character. Imagine killing your enemy and write down every little detail…No, just kidding. I did tell you that I was a creeper, didn’t I?
And if all else fails, watch Lord of the Rings, just because it’s that awesome.
3) You have too many ideas.
I have this one. A lot. I work on all ideas at one time, and yes, it’s nearly killed me. There are ways, however, to fix it.
List your ideas so that way you don’t lose them. Write the first page of each of the ideas. See which ones get you REALLY, REALLY excited. As in, pick the one that makes you want to wet your pants.
And I hate to say this, but also pick the one with market potential…Yeah, I said it. But a cool idea is still a cool idea, and the truth is, you want your work to reach people, right? I mean, you may write an adult story about a talking spud name Stanley, but that won’t work, no matter how fascinating you find it.
4) You are afraid that people won’t like your story.
I think that this happens to a lot of writers. It’s happened to me. All writers will experience rejection and bad reviews, and they WILL NOT BE PRETTY! They will hurt. A lot. People will tell you that “it’s just one person that you don’t even know.” But it won’t make the pain go away. It’s a person that dislikes your book.
So how do you convince yourself that it’s worth it? You pour hours and hours into your work, filling it with your heart and soul. You don’t want to endure that pain.
I think that the best method to overcome this is to focus on the positive. Look at the people who have liked what you’ve written before, even if it is just a short story. And if you’ve never shown someone, find a positive beta reader. I know that some may take this as bad advice, but before you start crushing your own hopes and dreams during self-edits, you have to have the self-confidence to get your work done. Finding the perpetual Pollyanna always helps me.
For me, this type of writer’s block often comes with Writer’s Rage.
Glossary of Terms
Note of Warning: These are what I call specific problems. They are only universally embraced inside my brain, which is a scary and twisted place. You have been warned.
Writer’s Burnout: Ever been walking around and have your I-pod run out of batteries? Writers are a lot like I-Pods. If you don’t give us fun time to rest and re-charge, we’re going to run out of energy—and ideas.
Writer’s Rage: That moment when you sit down and, instead of working on your manuscript, you get the convulsive urge to throw your laptop out your office window. Too angry to continue, you will then skulk off to take your rage out on your pet goldfish, Tuttle.
Got more questions about writing or about me? Feel free to contact me at specimen x (at) hotmail (dot) com. I answer all questions, but let me warn you in advance—I only date men that look like Johnny Depp. All other suitors need not apply.
Please keep your eyes open for my new releases coming out this summer, Case Closed and Keeping Freedom.
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