So you want to be a writer? You’ve got the technical skill. You have an idea of what you want to write about. You sit down at the computer and suddenly, you can’t write. What happened to all those great ideas you had floating around before? Sometimes, as writers, we write ourselves into a brick wall. In order to finish the story, we must navigate our way around this obstacle. Anyone who has ever experienced writer’s block knows that it can take hours, days, weeks or even months before a solution presents itself, and staring at the screen until it happens won’t speed up the process. There are some ways to help work through your writers block and get you back to writing.
Taking a break is often the best cure for writer's block. Walking away from your work and doing something else may allow you to come back with a fresh perspective later. Mindless activities such as coloring are great for allowing your mind to continue to work through the tough plot points without overthinking it. A good break should last anywhere from twenty minutes to a day. You want to give your brain enough time away from the screen to rest, but not long enough that you risk losing your connection with the plot entirely.
If taking a short break doesn’t help you work through your writer’s block, another great way to approach it is to skip to the next scene. Generally, when writing a story, you will have a fundamental idea of how you want the story to begin and end. Writer’s block usually comes somewhere in between those two points. When this occurs, sometimes the best solution is to skip ahead to the next part of the story you want to include. Depending on how intricate your planning and plotting is, this could be as simple as moving on to the next chapter, or it could mean you have to start at the end and work backwards. Either way, when you come back to the area that caused your writer’s block, more often than not, you will find that the rest of the story has worked out the details for you.
If neither of those options do the trick, it’s time to take a deeper look at your plot. Occasionally, writer’s block is caused by holes in the plot that are not easily fixed. Larger problems such as superficial characters, unbelievable timelines, or a shallow plot can all cause writer’s block. At this point, the cure for your block may involve heading back to the drawing board. Additional plotting and outlining may be necessary in order to work through the issues. On rare occasions, the entire story may need to be rewritten or shifted in a different direction.
As writers we all experience writer’s block at some point in our careers. It is important to remember that we can cure it, sometimes it just takes a little more work to get through. Every situation will be different, and what works one time may not help at all the next. Remember to be flexible and try not to overthink it, more often than not the cure for writer's block is as simple as stepping away for a little while.