I’ve answered a few “Ask the Author” questions from Goodreads and thought I would share those answers here for anyone who is not yet part of the Goodreads community… limited as that may be. This one is especially important to me because it’s an issue I deal with more often than I like to admit.
For me, writer’s block is a very real thing with varying degrees of severity.
There are times when 10-15 minutes of ‘free-writing’ frees the muse enough for me to get back into the story. Other times, I have to step away from the computer completely then pick up a pen and notepad to jot thoughts I have for the scene I’m struggling to write. That is truly free writing because it removes the pressure of having that cursor impatiently and steadily blinking in front of my eyes.
When I free-write, I usually write about where the last scene left off, how the characters felt at that point, what they need to do next, how the setting will feel, what will be the emotions they need to experience… I won’t spend too much time on any one thought. It’s just jotting, nothing solid until the muse becomes engaged. I gleaned this great bit of advice from a more detailed blog post by Rachel Aaron , and I ‘m always amazed at how well it works.
But when it doesn’t…
I exercise. Trust me, it’s a last resort. I could tell you I nosh and drink tons of coffee (which I do), but that’s more a way to procrastinate than to overcome writer’s block.
Still, I have a compact treadmill in my living room and when I am truly stuck and cannot work through a scene, I’ll get on the treadmill and just start walking. I’ll think about how I brought the story to the point where I’m stuck, trying to feel the emotions of the scenes. As I think more about it, I pick up more speed on the treadmill and that clears my mind. I don’t know how it works but it does. Sometimes I’ll come away with only one sentence, a transition, but that might be all I need to get going again. Sometimes, an error in a previous scene suddenly becomes clear. And sometimes the answer becomes so clear I wonder why I was stuck in the first place. I’m not sure how running does that for me, but it does, so I do.
I’d love to know what other authors do to overcome writer’s block. And for those who don’t believe it exists, I’d love to know their process because if there is a way to avoid it completely, I would love to know about i t.
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