“There is no such thing as writers block!”
I have heard this said loud and clear. The explanation that followed was just as absurd. “Writer’s block happens because the writer isn’t serious.”
Now, I’m here to tell you that writer’s block does exist. It can come a variation of things; fatigue, lack of motivation, sometimes you just get stuck. Look, writing is a job. Yes, it’s an art form too but its work.
Most of us writers don’t live off their writing. The vast majority of writers I have met have other day or night jobs. Physicians, teachers, professors, security guards and even newspaper reporters. We love to write, it’s our passion, and it’s what we love to do. But it does take up hours in the day to do and concentration to do it. For some of us words come easy, others need to be more focused.
I am the kind of writer who can write nearly anywhere except a quiet room. If it’s quiet, I go to sleep. If the tv is on, or I’m at work on my break, I can write like there is no tomorrow. Writing is my distraction from the everyday and it helps me get through it all. But there are times when a story will just stop in my head and I can’t go around the wall.
My newest novel, The Dead Syndicate, took me close to 18 years to complete. Of course in that time I published other works, but this was to be my opus and every time I got to a certain point in the book, I would draw a blank. I would have to put it down and work on something else until the juices started flowing again.
How do we get past writers block? I am a firm believer in putting something to the side until it speaks to you again and going with the flow. If you have another story in your head or even an idea for one, write it out. Put it to paper and get it out of the way. Sometimes that’s what’s blocking your flow. A fresh idea can always lead you back to a piece you’re stuck on.
Sharing Your Work In ProgressConsider joining a writers group if you’re not part of one already. My experiences with a writers group have helped me immensely. By taking about my work and reading it aloud, I get feedback from the others that normally wouldn’t have crossed my mind. It’s a great way to get rid of that writers block, get motivated and get those words flowing again.
Script Writing Writing your work in script form can help with both dialogue and structure. Think of a script as the skeleton. You can build conversations and create description without getting bogged down with a lot of detail. Then go back and overlay the story, filling in the gaps along the way.
When I wrote A Gamble of Faith the play, it never occurred to me to do a novel version of it. The idea came from a member of the audience who had seen the play several times. The request that I write the book version sent me back to the script with a fresh set of eyes. With all the dialogue in place, I simply wrote the novel around it, keeping much of the dialogue intact.
What does have to do with writers block? Despite the fact that the dialogue was there, creating a story around it took some doing. But in this case I could read ahead through the dialogue and regain my foothold on the story.
Go someplace outside your comfort zone: Every writer has a place where they write; coffee shop, home, library. Sometimes, getting away from these places and writing someplace else can stimulate the brain and help formulate new ideas. I make it a habit to always have two composition notebooks and a journal with me where ever I go. Ideas can come at anytime. So if I am at home and nothing is flowing, I may go out to the park or jump on the subway and head to the city and ideas will come to me. A change in scenery is always helpful.
Walking Away: Believe it or not, a great way to motivate yourself and to break that writers block is to walk away from the writing for awhile. I sometimes will play a video game or go for a walk just to get away from the piece I’m working on to clear my head. There are times I will walk away from a piece for months and work on something else until I find the inspiration I need to go back to the story. This is something I always do when I’m writing a play and have a lot of dialogue to write.
- Marc L Abbott
- I am a self published author from Brooklyn, New York. I have been publishing my work since 2004 and currently have four titles on the market in print and ebook format. I write horror and fantasy fiction as well as books for young adult. I am also a playwright with stage productions in and around New York City. Visit my website at www.hobbcatpublishing.com