Writing Tip: Breaking Through (Part 2)
Here is the second part of the feature on Breaking Through that we started last Thursday. Great thanks to Radiant Renee Stevens for her compilation of this, as well as to podiumdavis for giving us the idea to do this kind of format in the first place. Enjoy!
Breaking Through: Part 2
So, after the success of the tip suggested by podiumdavis, I decided to take another question to the authors on the site! We had a great response and once again I have to break the responses up into two parts! The question I asked was: How do you get past "Writer's Block?"
I hope you enjoy their responses and I even decided to weigh in on this one!!!
Site Administrator/Hosted Author: Cia
Ahh, for me I usually give myself a set time with no pressure to write. Usually a weekend, or until I read so many stories I've been wanting to read. That is always more fun than writing, lol. A trick I also try to do that will help head off writer's block before it strikes is to stop writing before I run out of ideas. I try to know what is going to happen next in the story when I save and close my file, that way, when I pick it back up again I know where to start.
Forum Mod/Hosted Author: Renee Stevens
I can't say how many times I have suffered from writer's block. For me, I have to have no distractions when I write, which is why I tend to write at night after the hubby goes to bed. Sometimes though, just a quiet house doesn't work and to help me get through a block, I'll turn the TV on and turn it to the Sirius radio. If I'm still blocked then I'll resort to the old fashioned pen and paper. Here's a quirk though, I can't just go pick up any notebook that's lying around or any pen. It has to be a new notebook and pen. Since buying notebooks all the time gets expensive, I actually set up a couple notebook pages on my computer that I can just print off when I'm going through a block. It seems to work as I'll sit down and write a couple pages by hand and then go transfer it to the computer, more often than not, it gets the story flowing.
Sometimes even those two things don't work though. If it's a really bad block, I turn to my team. I have a great team that helps me on my stories and when I'm in a really bad block, I'll go to them and we'll hash out the story. A lot of times after that I can sit down and just write to my hearts content. When nothing works, I just have to force myself to step away from the computer for a few days and then come back to it.
Promising Author: KingdombytheSea
I use two different methods to try and break through writer's block. The first is to go back to the beginning of my story and start revising. Sometimes I find myself re-connecting with my characters that way--and picking up on themes I might've forgotten about along the way.
The other thing I do is try and figure out if the block is there because I don't like where I've 'written myself'. In those cases, I usually take the trouble section/chapter... and delete it. (Of course, it's saved somewhere on the computer just in case...but I like the 'feel' of a clean slate). Then I rewrite that area until I find the 'aha!' moment that carries me to the next chapter/scene. Sometimes I end up writing chunks three, four, five times before I hit the 'right' way, but at least it keeps me writing
I don't get writer's block a lot, but when I do, there are three things I do
1 Have a break from writing for a few minutes. I could some house chores in that time....
2 Go out and take a stroll or visit the mall. Sometimes I buy something I don't actually need.
3 I listen to Deep Blues and New Age/ Adult Contemporary music.
If those three things doesn't help me, then forget about the story for a while and focus on other writings/ stories.
Writer's Block - the dreaded feeling of opening up a word document and having nothing to say. I personally believe there are two types of writer's block: (1) I am stuck on a certain story or (2) I am unable to write anything at all.
If it is the first one and I cannot write a certain scene or I have no clue where to go next in the story, I usually put that story aside and work on another one. In the mean time, I throw around [sometimes ridiculous] plot lines in my head until something sticks out. Sometimes I have to wait for that 'aha!' moment. I have actually been working on a particular story for the better part of five years. I worked on it diligently, through many different versions, for about four years straight and then got the worst case of writer's block possible. I placed it on the back burner and worked on my other, newer, stories. Recently, I have picked that story back up again, and although it is slow going at the moment, I believe that just taking a (very lengthy) step back from that story helped me get inspired to get past the writer's block and continue writing it. After all, I created those characters; they deserved the ending I have planning to give them.
I also brainstorm with a friend of mine who knows my stories, writing style, and overall personality rather well. That tends to bring out good results and gets me over the wall that I have ran into. Even if I do not like what she suggested, I can, most of the time, find a way to work out a scene that will more than likely stay in the final draft of the story. Sometimes she sees avenues I can take but have not seen. It always helps to have an outside voice giving me ideas for a storyline or telling me that I have not explained something clearly enough.
On the other hand, if it is the second type of writer's block and I am unable to write on any story, my process of combating it is different. I try reading a lot - anything I can get a hold of that will actually keep my attention. This can span from stories on the internet to actual published books. I do not stick to a particular genre of reading material, either. The subject of the book or online story does not have to be and rarely is the same subject that I am currently writing on. Even the most unrelated aspects have caught my attention and given me inspiration to get past my writer's block.
Sometimes, though, reading does not work either. Then I run or walk on the road that I live on, which is off the main highway in a rural area so I do not have to generally worry about many vehicles or meeting crazies. I prefer doing so at dusk or the few hours that follow. It is the time of the day when everything around here starts winding down and the air starts to lighten up. It is very peaceful and allows me to brainstorm without the constraint of a computer screen glaring at me. While I am not sure if it is the night air that clears my head or if it is the relief of not staring at a blank page, physically stepping away from my stories always helps me get past writer's block within a short amount of time.