Writer’s Block, the Ultimate Cause for Procrastination
You’re not doomed. In fact, all writers, even great writers will have to find ways to cope with writer’s block, the inevitable demon for writers everywhere.
There is no other obstacle threatening you in your novel’s marathon of the middle than writer’s block.
It is horrendous and for many of us, may last for months.
It happened often during my early days of drafting Northern Knights but I’ve found some cool and awesome tricks to the trade to prevent writer’s block so you, my readers, don’t have to experience it as horribly as I did once upon a time.
So, buckle in as I show you four awesome strategies to cope with writer’s block.
Read Your Favorite Book Series
I may even recommend to others to read a book or book series that inspired their own writing.
For me, Harry Potter was a huge inspiration in Northern Knights, so for a while, I reverted to reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which Northern Knights is very loosely based on plot-wise, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the inspiration for Northern Knights’ two upcoming sequels.
Every one of us has a book or book series that inspired us to start writing and by reverting back to it, even if such a series is a children’s book series, we’ll find our rhythm once more and return to the writing we once were and still are.
Usually, we’ve taken plot elements or have written in the same genre as our favorite series. By reading such a series once more a storm erupts in our minds and an idea springs from the doldrums of what was once a blank mind.
So, if you’re struggling to find your writing mojo, take a break and start reading.
Hit the Gym or Park and Bring Music
Some of us like myself love being in the gym to lift or do cardio while others a walk in the park might be a more suitable option.
But, bring some music with you because, for many of us, music is great for those of us trying to find our way back into our writing rhythm.
For me, it’s always symphonic, neoclassical, and power metal that gets my creative juices flowing. For you, anything related to your genre will work well.
I guarantee the second you get your body moving to free up your mind (exercise has a strange way of boosting our overall confidence) plus the musical aspects, you’re going to find a cool plot element or two.
Bam, once your home, hit the keyboard and write those thoughts that entered your mind while you were away from your writer’s den.
If anything, at least a couple new ideas sprung up that you probably didn’t see coming.
Edit Your Current or Latest Work
Sometimes, reading what you’ve written springs new ideas that will allow you to write yourself out of a corner of your current work or even add to your latest work.
For myself, my skeleton draft, as I call it, the draft before the first draft, is notorious for giving me pangs of writer’s block.
Here’s a little step-by-step of my writing attitude during my skeleton draft:
1. Awesome idea! Let’s get started!
2. Hmm, good premise. Decent ending, I think. Outline looks good.
3. Ah, no, no, no, this isn’t going to work. Man, this is terrible, Todd, you call yourself a writer?
4. Why am I even doing this?!?!
5. Hit gym, listen to music, get a lift in.
6. Review what I’ve written. Hmm, this isn’t half bad. Few typos, but we’ll fix it.
7. Yes, yes, yes! Yes, this does work! It needs work, but it does work!
8. Repeat process throughout skeleton draft.
As you can see, steps three and four are the pivotal points where writer’s block is seeping in. In fact, there are times I pick up my phone and start surfing Facebook and Twitter more often than I’m writing.
Yeah, for all of us it should be a warning. Stop what you’re doing and take your mind off your work for an hour or so.
Come back and many times, you’ll find the work well, works. It’s not half-bad. It’s quite good. Again, inspiration hits, even if you aren’t expecting it. Somewhere in your work’s code, as I call it, there’s a blueprint, an unwritten blueprint, of where your work is going and it’s often headed toward a grand place.
So, if you’re hitting writer’s block with your current work, review what you’ve already written or read a previous work. Inspiration will strike when you’re least expecting it.
Something Deeper, More Sinister, Lurks
Writer’s block, per the belief of many authors, is nothing more than fear itself. Fear of judgment, rejection, humiliation, or whatever doomsday scenarios us writers have concocted. Sometimes, fear is the real barrier, it’s not that we’re out of ideas or where to continue.
And it makes sense, as during my skeleton drafts, I get to Steps Three and Four listed above because I’m thinking how stupid this plot would sound to a reader.
What is my real fear?
Does this plot make sense?
And when I’m writing the skeleton, it makes zero sense while I’m writing it. Then, I go back and read it over again, usually after a workout, sometimes after reading a series relevant to my own work….my own book, even. I’ve a copy of Northern Knights on my end table.
After following these three steps, I realize no, this plot does work. It does make sense. Readers will read it and like it.
And I continue.
What you need to do as a writer is to just write, without fear of whether or not the plot will work. Chances are, it will work and you’ll be relishing in your new draft, be it a skeleton or a first draft.
And the beauty is, a first draft can always be rewritten because even if it works, there might be hundreds of elements you want to change. Whether it’s sentence structure, word usage, adverb elimination, character names, the list never ends.
But, just write and I guarantee when you do go back and review what you’ve written the following day, the work is going to exceed your own expectations.
Again, there will be plenty to change, but a lot to be excited about.
So go ahead, follow my four steps, and destroy writer’s block once and for all.