“Talent alone cannot make a writer. There must be a man behind the book.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Cure Writer’s Block
If the surge of ideas has faded, if your writing feels trapped or awkward, if you’ve hit the dreaded writer’s block, maybe you’re just not paying attention to your subconscious. The waking mind When you hit a sticking point, it sometimes means the plot is flawed and your subconscious knows and has slowed down. You’re still forging ahead as if the storyline is okay, and simply think you’re having a bad patch. The idea that your scheme might be wrong hasn’t trickled through to your waking mind yet.
Cure writer’s block – been there, done that …..
Sometimes it’s better to step back and take another look at your plot. Re-assess your ideas; are there other scenarios that might work better?
Cure Writer’s Block – Allow it to be processed.
Search through your running notebook of questions on the story (you do keep a notebook of things that need answering or resolving at a later date don’t you). Feed the ideas into your mind, try reversing the roles, chew things over. Ask yourself questions about the problem you’ve hit. Now put the whole thing to one side. Take a walk, feed the dog, go shopping, do anything except write. Allow time for this fresh material and the questions to be processed by your subconscious. Let it poach and boil whilst you do something unrelated. Take a holiday from writing.
Whatever you do, don’t get annoyed with yourself. Chill out.
Cure Writer’s Block – Nourish your mind
Feeding crude material into your mind can be intriguing and very worthwhile. The more you nourish your mind, the more probable your subliminal dynamic will be there to help. Lying dormant within your notebook, or sometimes in what you’ve already written will be a clue to the problem. Give it time to bubble and eventually the answer might appear…. But why did it happen in the first place? Write down in your notebook what your problem is, then go to sleep. The clues may be there in the morning.
Writer’s block is painful.
Most of us have had trouble curing writer’s block – been there, done that, got the ‘T’ shirt. It probably isn’t a lot of comfort, but you’re not alone in your suffering. Once you gain a little experience, you’ll perhaps develop your own unique ways of curing writer’s block, some people will be better than others, but most writers have to learn how to cope, or at least come to terms with it.
Cure writer’s block – Are they vague ideas.
To cure writer’s block needs an understanding of what is happening and why. Just why are you stuck? The problem is often caused because you’ve written yourself into a corner. All too often writers start with a vague but interesting idea, think up a bit of conflict and tension, plonk down in front of the screen, and write in full heat, until, that is, the idea begins to run dry. They hit a corner and can’t write their way out.
If you’re stuck and need some help to cure writer’s block, here are a few thoughts to help you on your way. They were passed down to me several years ago by another writer. You might find them useful:-
Cure writer’s block – a little help.
- Get up at least half an hour earlier than everyone else and write drivel.
- Before you eat, write drivel.
- Instead of reading the paper, write drivel.
- Before you see to the dog, write drivel.
- As soon as your eyes are focussed, write drivel.
- Take a toilet break if you must, have a glass of water, but write drivel.
You’ll only be half awake, the stuff will be nonsense, it will probably look as if a ten year-old has written it, but at least you’ll have words down. It doesn’t matter how stupid, how unprofessional the work is, you’ll have written.
Cure writer’s block – Churning away.
From these words, ideas bounce into the open, and before long, you’ll be away again. You’ll be like a steam train, huffing and puffing with the old cogwheels churning like mad. Maybe you’ll get nowhere but at least you’ll be churning.
Stick at it and with a bit of luck, after a few days you’ll be back on track. Hopefully it will become a habit to write again…
Why did writer’s block happen anyway? Why did you get stuck? As a process control engineer on a development team, it was instilled into me that Proper Planning Prevents Poor Perfomance – and this is equally true of writing as anything else in life.
Cure writer’s block – Make a plan.
- One of the most important weapons in the armoury of trying to cure writer’s block is planning. The advantage to drawing up a plan is discovering where the limitations of your plot might be. By planning, you’ll find if the ideas can be sustained to the end.
- Without a plan, your writing can run around like a headless chicken. Make a plan and give your story form and proportion.
- If you know where your work is heading, there’s less likelihood of getting bogged down. Curing writer’s block is often down to knowing just what is supposed to be happening in your story.
- Plans don’t have to be detailed, just a brief outline of events.
- Plans don’t have to be set in concrete, you can change them at any time – but if you want to change the way the story is heading, make a new plan before starting to write.
Cure writer’s block – Be professional.
Get the outline of the idea down.
If you discover a problem during the planning phase, explore every likely consequence, and then hide your notes away. Let the ideas ripen for several days before checking them out again – as dispassionately as you can. Be professional, search for ways to broaden the ideas; try to break down the fences surrounding it. Try the ‘what if’ technique.
Curing writer’s block – Ask questions.
If it hasn’t worked and you’re still in the process of curing writer’s block, remember to make use of every possible slant – the senses in particular can add a different dimension. Ask questions about every aspect – have you instilled a balanced emotive factor? If it isn’t balanced it will feel ugly. Is the plot really going the way you intended? Once you’re on the right trail, answers will come. If answers don’t come, maybe you’re asking the wrong questions. Try to think more constructively, look at the problem from a totally different standpoint – think outside the box.
If still nothing happens … stash your story idea. It’s not the right one. Sorry.
Cure writer’s block – Recycle.
Don’t discard your idea though. Keep it safe and it might come in to supplement a different story another time. Nothing should ever be scrapped – recycle is the key word – it might help in trying t – cure writer’s block in the future.
Stash it, but don’t be brassed off –
If you do have to stash it, don’t be brassed off, be thankful that your planning has worked. It’s highlighted a weakness in the plot. Without this process, you’d have beavered away quite merrily – until you hit that sticking point – Believe me, THEN you’d have been brassed off…..
Perhaps now you understand why I shout PLAN! Once you have a decent plan, you can start to write, and whoosh! The words will flow. The story will write itself, the words will fall from your fingertips like little gems…. and you’ll be a writer.
End of the article – Cure writer’s block –