Friday, February 22, 2013

You Should Be Writing!

I choose not to believe in writer's block, or at least not in the traditional sense. I don't believe that our imaginations are unexpectedly "blocked" and the story cannot get out. I like to think of writer's block as the characters way of telling us they don't want to do something, and they're simply giving us time to figure them out. This happened to me for the first time while working on my lastest Gallagher book. I hit a point in the story, right around chapter three, where the story could proceed with three different actions taken by one character. I know all three scenarios would happen, but what I didn't know was which one the character was ready to take. 

I needed a solution quickly because I refused to pause long enough for "writer's block" to form and doubt to take root. Rather than allow this, I wrote! It didn't matter if what I wrote made sense, or could even be used, but I kept writing, because giving into the "block" is one of a writer's biggest mistakes. So, I wrote all three scenes, which granted took more time than if I wrote only the one, but when I was finished, I not only had the correct scene for that section of the book, but I had two other scenes that would be used at appropriate places in the story. 

Now, if pushing through it with writing doesn't work, I go for a walk, block out everything around me, and write the story in my mind. I don't stop writing, but this allows me to "act" out the characters' parts. Oftentimes, I imagine them in a movie. What would they do, how would they behave, what would come naturally? This one is a no-fail exercise for me.

Make "writer's block" work for you. If you know your characters and you believe in the story, keep writing and the true story will emerge. If that fails, do what Richard Castle does and have a screen saver that scrolls across your laptop saying "SHOULD BE WRITING."

Are you a writer with a secret to overcoming the writing block blues?


  1. I've been having issues with my latest and have found myself doing the same thing of writing out several scenarios:) I now have at least five different starts to this novel, lol. I'm hoping I can get further than chapter one here soon!

  2. Knowing where it begins usually comes easily for me, even if the beginning changes during an edit. I always get stuck somewhere around ch. 3 or 4. That's where I have to make the big decision about which direction to take. It can take me weeks of being "stuck", but once I'm passed that, the story flows.