I think most writers have suffered from writer’s block at some point in their career. It’s frustrating and can be a blow to one’s confidence, but it doesn’t have to be permanent. When we’re stuck, we need to change tactics to overcome the wall our brain has built to hold all those glorious ideas at bay.
Try your hand at free writing. Grab a crisp sheet of paper or a nearby napkin and jot down any and all thoughts that come to mind, regardless of whether or not they relate to your work in progress. You never know what’s going to come out. A turn of phrase or an odd idea can knock a hole into that wall and commingle with those previously repressed ideas, getting the words flowing again.
You can also try outlining. If you’re stuck on a specific area, skip past it and outline future chapters. If you’ve got ideas for those, mark the spot in your manuscript and move ahead. When you come back later, it will be easier to figure out how to connect the two.
Start re-reading. Go back to the beginning of your story and re-read it. I find it helps reacquaint me with the characters, their motives and smaller plot points I may have forgotten along the way.
If you’ve got a writing buddy, ask them to write up a few interview questions and answer them as your characters. You might be surprised that the answers you come up with may move your story in a whole new directions, skirting around that wall or taking the secret tunnel underneath it.
When you’re the creative type, the ideas may get sidetracked, or seem elusive, but they never really stop coming. Our minds are turned on by the things around us: a beautiful landscape, an unusual looking person, a song, a television show, etc. When your pen runs out of ink, you don’t just throw your hands up and say “I’m done!”, you get another pen. When you’re struck by writer’s block, you find that other pen! You change your tactics and go about the writing process in a different way to work past it.
What tactics do you use to get past the dreaded writer’s block?