Archive for March 25th, 2011

Friday, March 25th, 2011 by Rosemary
What goes here?

My brain does not want to put words together today.

I’ve always said I don’t believe in “Writer’s Block.” This always seems slightly drama soaked, with a whiff of excuse.  But there are plenty of times when, for one reason or another, the words won’t flow.  Sometimes it’s the writer, sometimes it’s the project.

So what do you do about it?

Skip ahead. If there’s something blocking you in the scene you’re writing, make a note of what needs to happen there, and skip to the next one. You’ll either find that (a) you didn’t need that scene anyway or (b) having a definite target helps define the scene.  But our subconscious can be smarter that we are– sometimes it knows there’s something problematic about what we’re working on.

Write something that “doesn’t matter.” Write a character sketch or a scene that happens outside of the book. Write a journal entry from your heroine’s POV about the hero. Write your heroine’s grocery list or describe her bedroom. Writing something that “doesn’t matter” can overcome the stagefright that can shut you down when doubt starts whispering “this sucks.” It doesn’t matter if it sucks, because it’s not going to be in the book, but what you learn from it will.

Do the other stuff. Outline. Research. Write out the backstory. Write a glossary of your world terms or a family tree of your main character. That way your writing time isn’t wasted. But be honest that you’re not just procrastinating.

Take a break. If I take a walk, or do the grocery shopping, or vacuum the house, my brain is usually working on the scene while I’m busy doing other things, and a lot of times I’ll have a breakthrough “aha!” moment that sends me running to the computer knowing exactly what I need to do next.

Walk away for the day. It’s okay to give yourself a break for the day. There may be a physical or emotional reason your words don’t want to connect.  For me, it’s usually better to acknowledge this (after a truly honest effort) and say, “I’m walking away for the morning, or the afternoon, or the day” rather than beat my head against a wall, until I’m frustrated and blocked worse than ever.

Try, try again. No matter what you do, come back to it later.