For the record, I am not suffering from writer’s block right now. I have made a decision not to write for a little while. My brain will know when I am ready to write again. I suspect it won’t be long.
In the meantime, I thought I’d share three of my sure-fire cures for writer’s block.
1 – Always have something else in the hopper.
When I’m working on a major WIP, I always have a couple of shorter works in progress at the same time. Right now, I’m working on a time travel historical and a prehistoric fantasy romance. I also have another Petroleum Sunset story that is almost finished. If I am stuck on one, I can always pick up another and keep moving forward.
If you aren’t the type to write short works, then go ahead and use another novel for your writer’s block project. It should be a novel unrelated to the one you are working on. You don’t want to have to revise your first work because of changes to the second. It should also be one that is behind your current work in your publishing priorities. You don’t want to forever be trying to devote equal time to both books. That’s a good way to never finish either.
2 – Go on a date with your character.
Sometimes, you just need to take your character out of the plot and have them take a thoughtful walk around town. Or send them on a side quest. Or have a premature romantic interlude. All of these have worked for me. Of the three, the side quest was the only thing that ended up in my discards files, so it wasn’t wasted time writing. But when I write such scenes — longterm readers know I call these pilot scenes — I am prepared to discard them. It really helps.
The point is, sometimes you just don’t know your character well enough for the story to really flow. And that’s when a date with your character can really help.
3 – May as well tackle that synopsis.
Sometimes, your story is just too much of a mess to go on. If you are feeling muddled with your plot, unsure of where to take it, it’s an excellent time to take a step back and write a synopsis. Use my six paragraph method if synopses scare you.
Or, you can work on your story bible, (I call it my gazetteer). Sometimes you just need to organize the danged story before you can tell it. Some people use index cards. (I don’t–I label my scenes using Microsoft Word styles and arrange them with the Navigation pane.)
Any of these methods can help you take that important step back–which in turn will (somewhat ironically) allow you to take a closer look at the story and fix that troublesome spot that is impeding your progress.