Writer’s block, the bane of a writer’s life. The only way to overcome it is to just write something down. Don’t think about whether it’s good or bad, wonderful or horrible, just write it. You can fix it later, but don’t even think about that now.
You can’t edit what you haven’t written. You do have thoughts in your head. They maybe buried deep, but they’re there. Let them out.
First a don’t, then a lot of dos:
- Don’t self-censor when writing the first draft. At this point you don’t know what’s good or bad, and you also don’t know exactly where the story will take you and what your characters are going to do, even if you are a plotter. Just go with it.
- Do lower your standards. You don’t have to find the perfect word right now—you can do that when you edit. Get the thought down. First drafts have no standards. Anything goes.
- Do keep a notebook handy when you’re writing, and if you think of something that needs to go in later or earlier, just jot it done quickly, and continue on with what you were doing. You can go back during your next session and put those things in. Or you can refer to it later to jog your memory about something you thought would be good later on.
- Do start anywhere in the narrative, wherever the mood strikes. You can put it in the right spot later on. You can use a program like Scrivener to help you.
- Do ask yourself what could happen next. List at least five things. Pick the strangest/funniest/most unexpected.
- Do ask yourself what-if. What-if the main character did such and such? What if so-and-so arrived unexpectedly. What if a bomb went off?
- If all else fails, ask for help from a writing buddy or someone else you know who often has good ideas.
Here are some famous writers who had writer’s block: Leo Tolstoy, Virginia Woolf, Katherine Mansfield, Joseph Conrad, and Ernest Hemingway.
Anyone have other ideas that have helped you out of a writer’s block?
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