The Best Way to Overcome Writer’s Block
Writer’s block sucks, especially when you go to all the trouble to carve out actual writing time, sit down at the computer ready to type and suddenly every shred of story flies out of your head. Every writer has his or her own process and nothing is foolproof for getting your writer juices flowing anew, but here are a few of the things that have worked and not worked for me, broken down into a handy list of do’s and do not’s.
We’ll start by getting the negative out of the way first.
1- Sit staring at the computer screen, berating yourself for coming up blank. This will not help anything and will only serve to make you crabby and possibly depressed. Which makes it that much harder to write.
2- Surf the internet. Yes, that montage of stars acting just like us is engaging but close that window and don’t go back. The internet will suck every last minute of writing time you have, leaving you feeling like you just binged on junk food instead of eating that salad for lunch.
3- Go binge on junk food. That starts a cycle of self loathing none of us need.
4- Start listing all the reasons you should not be a writer, why you will never finish this book, why you suck in general. Nothing good ever comes from this line of thinking.
5- Second guess everything you have done so far in your book. You will need to edit but not now, when you are feeling down on your work. There’s time for constructive rewriting later.
And now for the positive.
1- Reread parts of your book that might inspire you or trigger a fresh idea for a new scene. It’s awesome if you can actually use your own work to break out of the block!
2- Go for a walk and think about what’s going on in your book while away from that screen. Moving your body can do wonders to shake ideas free.
3- Turn on your favorite song and dance while totally putting your story out of your mind. Sometimes some straight up cardio gets your juices flowing the way nothing else can.
4- Consider that perhaps the scene you are working on isn’t something that needs to be in the book- maybe that’s why you are getting stuck here. Or skip it and write something that happens later in the story. You can always come back to this scene later and maybe knowing what’s next will help it come more easily.
5- Call a friend and brainstorm story and scene ideas. Because your friends are there for you, especially the other writers who will totally get your frustration and want to help you out of it. Sometimes just saying your ideas out loud helps you rethink things in new ways.
And when all else fails, eat chocolate- not the junk food kind and not a binge, just a few squares of the best bar you can find at short notice. Chocolate has been known to work many wonders, so why not curing writer’s block? I’d swear it works for me.
Good luck and happy writing!
Wow! Those are some of the basic yet very useful writing tips, Daphne. Thank you so much for giving us various ideas to get rid of that ghastly writer’s block. Thank you for gracing us with your presence on Reviewing Shelf. I am looking forward to reading and loving your book.
Summary: Ariel’s birthday weekend looks to be the event of the season, with a private concert by rock star Hudson Winters on the grounds of her family’s east coast estate, and all of Ariel’s elite prep school friends in attendance. The only person who’s dreading the party is Sera, Ariel’s former best friend, whose father is forcing her to go. Sera has been the school pariah since she betrayed Ariel, and she now avoids Ariel and their former friends. Thrown together, Ariel and Sera can agree on one thing: this could be one very long night.
They have no idea just how right they are.
Only moments after the concert begins and the lights go down, thugs open fire on parents and schoolmates alike, in a plot against Ariel’s father that quickly spins out of control. As the entire party is taken hostage, the girls are forced apart. Ariel escapes into the hidden tunnels in the family mansion, where she and Sera played as children. Only Sera, who forges an unlikely alliance with Hudson Winters, knows where her friend could be. As the industrial terrorist plot unravels and the death toll climbs, Ariel and Sera must recall the sisterhood that once sustained them as they try to save themselves and each other on the longest night of their lives.
Last day to enter today!! (21 December)
Win 2 copies of The Girl in the Wall
Daphne Benedis-Grab is the author of two novels for teenagers, Alive and Well in Prague New York (HarperCollins 2008) and The Girl in the Wall (Merit Press, to be released December 18, 2012). Alive and Well in Prague, New York was praised by Booklist for its “strong, clear voice and heartbreaking vulnerability”and by Kirkus for its “excellent narrative voice and touching emotional connection”. It was selected as one of Bank Street College’s Best Children’s Books of 2008. Daphne has also ghostwritten a teen novel for Sourcebooks and reviewed children’s books for Publishers Weekly. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children.