Friday, October 14, 2011

Writers' Block--How to Break Them Up

~~I know you've all heard of the dreaded malady, Writers' Block, and shudder in fear that it's out to get you. Well, thanks to Beth, one of my Books and Writers Forum friends, I'm found the neatest list of the different types of blocks, complete with suggestion to blow them out of your way. Check out "The 10 Types of Writers' Block (and How to Overcome Them)" at io9.

~~Here's the list. Be sure you check out the cures. I'll admit to falling prey to three of these regularly. ; )
1. You can't come up with an idea.

2. You have a ton of ideas but can't commit to any of them, and they all peter out.

3. You have an outline but you can't get through this one part of it.
That's me in a nutshell. I usually handle it by cutting the item from the outline or skipping over it and coming back later.

4. You're stuck in the middle and have no idea what happens next.

5. You have a terrible feeling your story took a wrong turn a hundred pages back, and you only just hit a dead end.

6. You're bored with all these characters, they won't do anything.

7. You keep imagining all the reasons people are going to say your story sucks, and it paralyzes you.
Oh, yeah! I do this one. Darn that Inner Critic, AKA Miss Inner Editor. ; )

8. You can't think of the right words for what you're trying to convey in this one paragraph.
Oh, yeah, this one, too. The neat thing about the suggestions is that it's all right to linger at least a little while. That's an eyeopener for me. ; )

9. You had this incredibly cool story in your head, and now you're turning it into words on a screen and it's suddenly dumb.

10. You're revising your work, and you can't see your way past all those blocks of text you already wrote.

~~So which of these problems blocks your words? What do you think about the suggestions for handling them?


  1. The worst by far is number one. It happened to me for a few years and I wrote nothing. I think my brain is coming up with ideas now, on overdrive, just so I never have to go back to that barren place again.

  2. Deniz,
    What a fine idea you came up with, too. ; ) Do you think you needed the genre shift to break up your log jam? I've wondered about that myself. Of course, it might help if I knew what genre FRIENDLY FIRE was. LOL!

  3. #3 is the most fateful for me. I will set an outline prior to writing and then the character will say "uhuh, that's not me." I use my outline as a base which is constantly changing. I had to tell myself this was okay.

    I'll clip that part out save it for later. Most times the move was what the story needed to progress anyhow.

  4. Yes and no. Er, I just thought of something. You know that trope you always hear about in tv and movies - the rebound relationship? Well, after breaking up with writing, I think poor Austin's story ended up being my rebound novel. Then I rediscovered Romance and sort of... well, I won't say I dropped him by the roadside, because I love him and Kedi. It's just their story that wasn't working out.

  5. I'm prone to #3, and I do like you suggest, I skip it and write ahead. But I do leave a block of sketchy notes about what I think needs to be included, so there's no blank page staring at me when I do come back to that scene or section.

  6. Jo and Lori,
    Interesting that we all get hung up on #3. I wonder if it's a common problem of outliners? Maybe we need a poll...Not! ; )

    I've always been told that all writers have a closet/bottom drawer novel that had to be used to cut their teeth, but isn't good enough to go further. I don't know. FF feels so substantial and right. I hope it will survive my growning pains.

  7. I always wonder about that, Zan Marie. Because even Austin's story wasn't my first novel. I read somewhere else that the magic number is 20. Aha, found my old blog post on the Rule of Twenty.

    FF feels substantial to me too!

  8. 20! Oh, my, I'm never going to get there! ; )


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