On Writer’s Block

Another YA Highway RTW!  I honestly love these prompts, because they get me thinking about so many different aspects of writing and craft, and it’s so much fun to see how everyone else responds.

So, the question this week is:  How do you beat writer’s block?

For me, writer’s block usually comes down to something in the story that isn’t working.  One of the first things I do is go back to my outline.  Sometimes I even go back to my index cards, sprawling them out across the living room floor just to stare at them.  I’ll move one scene, then another, then another.  Then I’ll move them all back where they started, because they were better there, really.  My husband thinks I’m being neurotic.  My cat likes to zip across the cards and mess them all up, like he’s helping to rearrange the story.  Either way, even if I don’t end up changing anything, seeing how I meant for scenes to interrelate can be a helpful way to cure the block.

In the same vein, I also like to go back and read what I’ve written.  It’s tempting to make little copyedits and minor changes while I read, but I try to just focus on getting back into my characters’ heads.  This is especially helpful when I’ve been on vacation from writing for a few days.  Once I get to the blankness at the end of what I’ve written, I am usually ready to start filling it in.

And if these things don’t work, I read.  Books in my genre.  Craft books.  Blogs about craft.  Anything that will keep my mind focused on writing.

And if reading doesn’t work, I watch teen movies and TV shows.  Joss Whedon and the Gilmore Girls do wonders for unblocking difficult dialogue.  Eighties Brat Pack movies help with plotting and romantic tension.  Cheesy made-for-ABC-Family movies just help me stop thinking altogether.  Once I wipe the drool away from my mouth, I feel refreshed.  Like my brain took a nap.

FINALLY, in case of emergency, I’ll break out a beer to loosen up and stare at a blank screen until words are on it.  This strategy works best after dinnertime but before bed.  It also works best when used sparingly.

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6 comments

  1. Rebecca B says:

    I can admit to your in-case-of-emergency strategy from time to time. It can be very effective!
    I underutilize TV as a block-breaker; I should try that tactic more often.

  2. Katy Upperman says:

    I always like to go back and read what I what I wrote the previous day before I dive into writing. It really helps me to get back into the groove and back into the head of my MC.

    Great ideas!

    • Crystal says:

      Yeah, I can’t seem to turn the right voice on if I don’t re-read a bit. Plus, if you like the story, it’s a fun way to start the writing day 🙂

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