Writer’s Block is every writer’s nightmare.
It’s the one thing everyone warns you about when you embark on any kind of creative endeavor, and yet the beauty of the creative soul is that you charge ahead full speed, optimistic that maybe you’re one of the blessed few that can freely create without anything inhibiting your creative juices from flowing from your finger tips. For everyone else, there’s writer’s block.
Writer’s block, for the uninitiated, is when the creative juices stop flowing and you find your writing hitting a metaphorical brick wall that seems insurmountable. You may mope about it for a few days, take care of things you may have neglected during your brief honeymoon when you began writing, and the thought may cross your mind to just give up. That’s where this post comes in! For where there is a will, there is a way.
One year, back during my brief obsession with journalism, I interviewed one of the writing department’s creative writing professors, Ander Monson. His first word of advice, which seems obvious, but still bears mentioning, is to stop hitting the wall. You can try to write through the writer’s block all you want, but if you’re still hitting a wall, you’re not really doing anything to fix your problem. Writer’s block gets its power from writers concentrating on one thing for too long. So say you’re doing National Novel Writing Month, it’s a one month writing blitz where, supposedly, all you focus on is your novel. This is a sure-fire way to encounter writer’s block, so what’s a writer to do?
Here are three ways to break through writer’s block:
Nothing keeps the mind on its toes more than working on multiple tasks at once. So maybe this means you keep multiple writing projects going, or have a chat window open and a movie playing in the background while you work on your novel.
- Switch your point of view.
Experience the story from another point of view. This trick can even rescue your story if you are a pantser who is finding their story running out of steam fast. Seeing the story from another point of view allows the writer to explore other corners of their story that may be covered in cobwebs and shadows and just want someone to drop by and acknowledge their existence and show them a little love. Maybe you discover something about the plot you didn’t know before. Or even better, maybe you discover some more back story that you were not aware of before. It’s shedding light on a part of your literary world that opens new possibilities so don’t be afraid to do this. After all, first drafts are rarely perfect the first time around.
- Walk Away. Like, now.
Sometimes, writer’s block is simply your brain saying, “I really don’t want to think about this any more. Honestly.” When you arrive at this point, it’s best to walk away for a while. Give it two or three days to settle and then come back to your story. You may gain some fresh perspective by walking away, since your brain will be mulling over the story like a background process on a computer. Also, by not making your writing the foremost thing in your mind, you give your mind a chance to turn its attention to other things that may be equally important. The world doesn’t put itself on hold for writers after all.