You’ve decided to write, you’ve even experimented with your ideas and started working on the story that makes you excited, but suddenly you are stuck. You have that dreaded Writer’s Block. There are a few different camps on what writer’s block means… some believe it is an excuse writer’s use when they are undisciplined, others think it’s a made up phenomenon, and still others believe it is fear manifesting in our work. But no matter whether you believe it’s real, made up, or something in between the outcome is still the same. No words are getting added to the page.
Personally, I waffle between whether it’s real or not. Mostly, I think writer’s block is my mind and body’s way of telling me it’s time to do something different. I don’t care the cause, lack of discipline, planning, or a bad story idea [there are no bad story ideas!], when I am not making progress on my projects it’s time for a break. Sometimes my breaks are short breaks and other times I may go months without writing on my project.
Project is the important word here. While I am not writing on my project, I am more than likely doing some sort of creating. Many times, my blog may go silent and my story might become shelved, but I am still keeping a journal, taking photos, and recently I have taken up doodling.
One of the reasons I like experimenting with story ideas is when I get stuck while writing on my main project occasionally I will start writing down a new idea, just trying it on for size. Most of the time while I’m working on that new shiny idea (typically in the form of free writing), my mind will loosen up and I’ll get some ideas for my main project or what ever was keeping me from writing (on the main project) will get resolved.
My word of advice for people (writers, artists, musicians) experiencing writer’s block is don’t internalize it (being stuck has nothing to do with the quality of your work). Recognize that you are stuck. Attempt to see if you can determine the cause. Then act upon that knowledge. Overcoming writer’s block could be as simple as skipping ahead in your storyline, doing some research, or outlining what you want to happen.
On the other hand, you don’t know the cause of your writer’s block. Then perhaps it is time for a break. Do something completely unrelated to writing (creating) go take a walk, play with your kids or pets, clean or organize a room in your house, or go read a book. Sometimes, your mind just needs a break.
What are some of the methods you use when you get stuck on a project?