Writer’s Block

Or, as Curly once said to his fellow stooges, “Hey Moe, Hey Larry. I’m trying to think but nothing’s happening.”

I think every writer at some point gets stuck. No ideas, not a clue of where to go from here. Maybe we’ve written ourselves into a corner and can’t figure out how to get the hero out of it. Maybe we’ve written 50,000 words and realize the story stinks, the hero is a jerk, and we start rooting for the bad guy.

I don’t have a magic formula or potion that will permanently cure writers block. Sometimes writing seems like Yogi Berra’s description of baseball: “Baseball is ninety percent mental—the other half is physical.” I guess we could paraphrase Freud and say writer’s block is all in your mind.

But there are ways out of it. The first is to pray for wisdom. Proverbs 8:12 (KJV) tells us that wisdom finds knowledge of witty inventions.

Second is to develop your own discipline and techniques for breaking through it. Don’t neglect your writing time because you’re feeling blocked. Write something. It could be a journal, ideas for an entirely different book, scenes, character sketches. Try “what if” scenarios in your current work. What if somebody got shot? What if the hero got fired? What if the hero’s husband was unfaithful? Her dog died? Her cat ran away? Anything that’s outside of your current story box. You may not use it or it may take the story into a whole new (and better) direction.

When I don’t know what to write, I sometimes take two of my characters and write dialogue. It gets the fingers moving and dialogue fills up pages, giving the illusion of lots of progress. It can be outrageous, it can be mundane, it can be irrelevant to the story. They can be talking about the weather or health care or last night’s game. Whatever. Just let it flow. You’ll probably be able to use a good bit, if not all of it, in your story. And it will reveal your characters to you in ways you hadn’t seen before.

Writer’s block is not a disaster. It is an opportunity. Seize it.

15 Responses to Writer’s Block

  1. Kim Muffler October 19, 2010 at 3:36 pm #

    Hey this post is very interesting. I’ll use it for my essay :). Can you tell me some related articles that I can read too?

  2. Henry November 4, 2010 at 12:51 am #

    Check the Writer’s Digest website.

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  1. Robb - December 29, 2011

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