We've all dealt with it.
The blank screen.
The maddening cursor, blinking over and over again.
Laughing at your pain (maybe that's just me).
It knows you're stuck.
Tis the dreaded Writer's Block. Be you pantser or plotter, it eventually, inevitably, finds you.
I confess, at the risk of jinxing myself, that I don't often deal with writer's block. Only in times of great personal stress do I find myself jammed up. I've learned to anticipate and as such, stave it off.
Writer's block does not happen because you suck. Writer's block does not make you any less of a writer. Yes, some people get jammed up for days, even months at a time. So when it happens to you, don't be too hard on yourself. Welcome to the club.
Writer's block can mean any number of things;
- You spent too much time away from the world, and you know longer know it as well as you used too.
- You have over, or under, thought the process.
- Your story has taken a wrong turn somewhere.
Yes, it's a first draft and no one will ever see it, but when you feel your hair raise on the back of your neck, listen to yourself. You're about to make a wrong turn. Stop. Look at what you've done. Seriously, take two minutes, your hands off the keyboard, and look at what you're doing. Chances are you will spot the mistake. See it? Good. Now, correct it and move on.
- Get Moving.
If you're stuck, maybe it's time to take a step back. Close the computer. Get up. Move around. Get your circulation going. Get your mind running. Don't worry about taking ideas down, just move around to get your mind working again. Once you have your heart rate up a bit, you're not feeling so stiff, take another shot at it.
When you close your computer, don't close out your editor. The less steps you have to take to re-immerse yourself, the better.
- Take A Break.
If moving around isn't an option for you, it's still a good idea to unplug and step away for a little bit. Do something, anything, other than write. I like doing dishes when I get stuck. Something about the soap and warm water over my hands fires me right back up.