How To Think Through Writers Block



In his book, On Writing, Stephen King says, "We are talking about tools and carpentry, about words and style…but as​ we move along, you’d do well to​ remember that we are also talking about magic." When something is​ really well-written we tend to​ think it​ was effortless for the writer, that it​ seems magical. We wonder, "Did that author ever have to​ deal with writer's block?" Yes, he or​ she probably did. Pretty much every writer does. But how do you work through a​ block when the inside of​ your brain feels so foggy? These tips will show you how to​ clear things up.

1.) Work Consistently

When I started my first novel I joined a​ class to​ help get me going. After it​ was over, I took a​ few more workshop sessions with the instructor, but when those ended all my work ground to​ a​ complete halt. Why? Because from then I was only working on the book a​ day or​ two a​ week, mostly on weekends. if​ I got stuck that meant I wouldn't write for two or​ even three weeks. Then I went out and got a​ place to​ write. I committed myself to​ going there 3-4 times a​ week to​ work on my book. Suddenly the writing got easier! I thought it​ was because I was putting in​ more time--and that's partly true--working consistently helps to​ build momentum. But that wasn't the whole answer. Here's the rest: I was thinking about the book all the time! Which means...

2.) Don't Leave Your Book on the Desk

When I started working consistently I found that I was still thinking about my character and plot issues when I went home at​ night on the subway. That thinking continued in​ the shower the next day and on the streets as​ I walked to​ work. Once I was flying to​ Cleveland to​ visit my family and during the flight I figured out the answer to​ the problem I was having with a​ flashboack in​ my novel.

So write at​ your desk and do your figuring out everywhere else throughout your day. Ideally you are thinking about your book while you drive, while you shower, while you watch a​ baseball game. in​ fact, Stephen King has said he has worked through a​ chapter or​ two in​ his head while at​ Fenway Park watching the Boston Red Sox. When you think about your book away from the desk, it​ ensures you'll have something to​ write when you get back to​ your desk.

3.) Ask Yourself Lots of​ Questions

Okay, you might be asking, "What am I supposed to​ be thinking about?" Your book, of​ course, but I understand how difficult it​ is​ to​ just have generalities floating around in​ your head competing with all the media we're flooded with already. to​ focus your thinking, ask yourself a​ series of​ questions related to​ the issues you're stuck on.

For instance, "What story or​ incident can I create to​ best highlight my character's strength and/or weakness?" Possible answer: a​ party where most of​ the guests snubbed my character's party which took place few weeks earlier. "How would my character be responsible for that situation?" Maybe she told a​ secret and everyone is​ upset with her because of​ it. "What behavior will my character display that will reveal her true essence to​ the reader?" Maybe she quietly vandalizes people's belongings throughout the evening, ripping coats in​ the closet, "accidentally" breaking glasses, spilling drinks on someone's designer dress. You can keep going that way, with each question leading you further down the path until you complete a​ picture in​ your head of​ what you want to​ write when you sit down again. No more writer's block!

4.) Remember Why You're Writing

When you do get stuck, it​ helps to​ remember why you're working on the project in​ the first place. as​ I mentioned before, I got stalled many times working on my first novel. But I was motivated by several things including my sincere desire to​ be a​ published author and my devotion and commitment to​ my characters. (Once, when going through a​ period of​ non-writing, I had a​ dream where the main character of​ my book was screaming at​ me--I knew it​ was time to​ get back to​ work!)

So, why are you writing? And is​ the reason powerful enough to​ make you do what it​ takes to​ get through the difficult times of​ the writing process? if​ it's not, perhaps you need to​ re-think your reasons and your project. But if​ your motivation is​ strong, go with it​ and allow that sheer force to​ help you break down the walls in​ your work.


© 2018 Sophfronia Scott





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