Beating Writers’ Block #amwriting

Beating Writers’ Block

writers' block1. Drop back and punt. Re-read the last page you wrote, or the last chapter, or as much as you have to, to get back the feel of the writing. Some writers recommend re-typing a few pages to prime the pump.

2. Do something else for a while. Read, or process pickles, or take a walk. Work on an alternate project. Do a crossword puzzle.

Marshall J. Cook suggests these “ice-breakers”:

3. Have a chat with your characters. He suggests getting writing materials or a blank computer screen and calling up each character and letting each one talk about what’s on his or her mind. He says he sometimes found out things about them he hadn’t known before. If this happens to you, please don’t forget that these surprises are still under your control and, if one of your characters reveals that he is a transvestite lounge-singer, you have the power to say, “No, you’re not.”

4. Start someplace else. Try writing a scene from a different point of view; maybe you’ve chosen the wrong viewpoint character. Choose a different place to start, or a different type of opening.

5. Writer’s block is your friend. I said once in here that I never have writer’s block. I have been known to get stuck, though. When I feel myself heading into a strong resistance, I stop dead the water; I’ve learned that, when my subconscious resists writing, I’m doing something wrong. I stop and take a look at what I’m doing: Am I letting a character dictate to me? Am I bulling along with my outline, when I’ve stumbled on a better alternative? Am I forgetting to answer an important question? Am I making a character do or say something he or she wouldn’t do or say, just to get through a scene, or in order to put in a line of dialogue I like? When I’ve identified and corrected the problem, my block is gone.

Maybe your block will be your instincts trying to tell you something.

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Have a chat with one of your characters.



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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