Almost everyone gets writer’s block.
Whether it is finding the right words, fleshing out a scene, or knowing what to write next. We all face it.
It can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few weeks and, in rare cases, even longer.
For most people, this just means they need a break or to try to figure out the problem.
Stressing over it can make it even harder to get past. So, why let it bother you?
It’s simply part of the process, and every writer faces it at some point or another.
There are many ways we can get stuck:
Not Knowing What Comes Next
Sometimes we can write ourselves into a dead-end, causing our story to grind to a screeching halt.
Instead of spending days staring at the words trying to figure out what to write, look back at your plot line.
Ask yourself if you’ve taken a wrong path somewhere? Can you choose a different one?
Do you need to do some research? Do you need to better develop your characters or world?
Sometimes small tweaks are all you need to find your way forward without making any major changes to what you have already written.
But if the issue changes the story too much, you might need to rewrite part of it.
Your Character Doesn’t Care What Happens
If your characters have no stakes in the plot, they have no reason to care or make an effort.
In order for your characters to want to pursue the path you’ve given them, they must have a personal stake in the consequences (good or bad).
If your characters have stopped cooperating, more than likely somewhere along the line, the goal stopped being important to them.
Try to find the last spot it mattered to them and find where it went wrong after that. Look for a way to up the stakes on a personal level for the character.
Once they’re back to caring, you should have no problem pushing forward.
There’s No Reason Any of This Would Happen
The world revolves around cause and effect.
If there is no reason for the story to happen the way it’s supposed to, then perhaps you should take a closer look at your cause.
Sometimes this may mean you need to do a little more world-building or work on your character’s backstory.
In order for things to unfold the way you want them to, there needs to be external forces at work forcing your protagonist down the path you chose.
Our choices may be internal, but those are always limited by the external world.
Find ways to box your character in, pushing them in the direction you need them to go.
We always take the path of less resistance.
If there’s no reason to take the difficult path, then there’s no reason for the story to exist.
Staring at a blank page or moving on to something new won’t solve your writer’s block for you.
It can only be fixed if you’re willing to look at the underlying problem and do whatever it takes to get yourself back on the right path.
Sometimes it’ll be easy. Sometimes not.
But you won’t get anywhere in life if you’re not willing to put in the work.
How do you get stuck? What do you do to get past it?
FOR FURTHER READING
Renea strives to help writers develop the focus and skills they need to finish their first novel, offering writers practical writing advice they can apply one step at a time.
She is the author of Conquering Writing Pressures: Living a Balanced Writing Life in a Busy World where she helps writers find the courage to accept life will never be perfect. And if we want our dreams to succeed, we must fight to make them a reality.
She currently lives in St. Joseph, Missouri, with her husband Joe, her three children, and her five lovable furballs.
From a young age, Renea was mad for books and reading, and especially loved Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series, which she read in the ninth grade.
She is an avid reader, with her main interests residing in history, mythology, and fantasy, along with some romance and science fiction in her earlier years.
When Renea’s not writing, she enjoys genealogy, role-playing games, and dreams of traveling the world. In a past life, she plucked chickens and milked cows.