As any writer can tell you the worst thing that can happen to them is writer’s block. It’s the big scary monster under our beds at night. It’s the adult version of telling ghost stories around the camp fire. The only difference is now we’re older and we don’t use a flashlight.
So how do you overcome writer's block? The answer is simple really. The way to overcome writer's block is by having confidence. If you believe that you know what to say then you will. If you doubt your ability then you will falter. Seems easy, right?
So now the question becomes how do you get confidence? As I’m sure you know, that is easier said than done. Everybody has a little voice that delights in saying “you can’t!”. This little naysayer is the biggest reason we have trouble overcoming writer’s block. We hear this voice over and over in our head and we begin to believe it.
The first step to building your confidence is to stop listening. Stop letting your inner critic tell you that you can’t. Don’t worry about what it says to your first line or your second. Just write. Write anything you want. Let your creativity run wild and keep your critic locked away. You don’t need him right now. He has a time to shine and this is not it. You can let him out for editing.
Still having trouble? Let’s break it down even father. Stop trying to make sense. Don’t even try to write a sentence. Throw the words out there and see where they land. This isn’t for anybody else it is all yours. So stop thinking about it and just scribble it down. Right now you don’t need to make people understand, you aren’t telling a story. You are simply trying to break out of your box. So brainstorm, let the words out without judging them. Afterward you can go back, pick and choose the words you like and make something out of them.
When trying to overcome writer's block I find it helps to get a new perspective on your characters or world. Make a list of random questions. Questions like what is your main character's favorite color or what are their views on global warming. Ask anything that pops into your head then sit down with your list and figure out the answers. Be detailed. Ask questions about the questions. Ask questions about the answers. Why is blue their favorite color? Write it all down and keep it to go back to. You might just find a few hidden gems locked away in there.
Sometimes it’s not knowing what to write that is the problem. Sometimes it is just how to start writing it. The beginning of anything can be so daunting. It’s filled with uncertainty and danger. You might know what will happen and when but if you’re unsure how to begin you never get there at all. The simplest solution to this is to not start at the beginning. Start in the middle or the end. Write what you know will happen and go from there. You can always come back and add it once you feel more sure of your story.
So remember the keyword to kicking writer’s block to the curb is confidence. It’s your story and you can do anything you want with it.