Random Inspirations

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5 Ways to Vanquish Writer’s Block

on January 10, 2013

Writer’s block is the evil troll of the literary process, every writer’s nemesis. It strikes us all periodically, but how to lessen it? Here are five tried-and-true techniques I employ to tame the beast that is writer’s block.

Writer's block is the evil troll of the literary process.

Writer’s block is the evil troll of the literary process.

1. Make an outline. Before I even start a manuscript, I draft a short summary of my novel’s main sections. Then, I use that summary to create an outline, with a sentence or two to describe the events of each chapter. It’s a given that, as I write, I deviate from the original outline, adding and subtracting as the characters evolve. Nevertheless, I’ve found that knowing where I’ll be going next (outlining) helps me to get there (finished manuscript) with less roadblocks (i.e. writer’s block).

2. Keep a notebook. Make sure it’s compact and portable. Sometimes I have a sudden inspiration for a dialogue or scene in the chapter I’m working on, but I can’t write it on my computer immediately. My sparkly, animal-print mini-notebook is full of such inspirations. As soon as I can return to my writing, the ideas are already there and my creative juices are flowing, which in turn allows the words to flow across the page.

3. Don’t force it. If you’re serious about writing, you should do it regularly, preferably every day. In fact, you should feel compelled to do it from the depths of your soul. That’s what makes us writers. But if your schedule is running you ragged, you’re sick, or you’re just plain exhausted, do yourself and your manuscript a favor and take a little break. Rejuvenate, and you’ll come back stronger tomorrow.

4. Start and end your writing sessions right. At the beginning of your writing session, reread your last passage. This refreshes your memory and prepares you to plunge confidently into the next segment. At the end of your writing session, try a technique I learned at a writing conference: end where you know what will happen next. This could mean stopping in the middle of a scene, or at the end of a chapter. If you know how your next section will begin, you’ll not only end this writing session strongly, you’ll start the next one strongly.

5. Brainstorm.¬†Sometimes, writer’s block rears its ugly head simply because we’re humans, not idea machines. Our creative tides ebb and flow. That’s why it’s imperative to have that handful of special people to bounce ideas off while writing. At one crossroads in my manuscript, I was unsure which path to take, and had two ideas, neither of which seemed good enough. Brainstorming with my mom and Antonio helped me to think of a completely different and better path, and I couldn’t wait to resume writing. Take that, writer’s block!!

These are the only kind of blocks that are fun to play with.

Good luck banishing writer’s block. These are the only kind of blocks that are fun to play with;)

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