It’s talked about. It’s feared. It can make a writer depressed. It’s like being caught in a big sticky cobweb. But what is Writer’s Block? How do you overcome it? Personally, I don’t believe in Writer’s Block – to me it just means you are not asking the right questions. You are in a dead end, a cul-de-sac – and you have to reverse out of it. Your story has to change. And how you think about your story, therefore, needs to change too.
So what does it mean that you are not asking the right questions? What has that got to do with Writer’s Block? Let’s step back a few paces.
Basically you can write. You have written, perhaps a book, perhaps a few hundred pages. So just know you can do it, you have previously. So it’s not that something suddenly descended upon you and now all writing thoughts have forever vanished.
It’s probably more to do with how you are thinking about various aspects of your story, and the creation of same. You need to realise that you need to start thinking of your story in a different way.
Work from the basis that things need to change in your story… and sometimes dramatically.
Start with thinking about your main character – are they doing something that is not ringing true and is blocking their path forward to make the story unfold?
Here are a few questions to help:
- Should my main character be a different gender?
- Are they the right age for the story to work?
- Perhaps if they lived in a different country/area, a different setting, would they be able to overcome or deepen a particular trait?
- Are they too passive? Do they need more conflict in their lives?
- Are they doing something in the story that would be more suitable for another character?
- Do you need to shake up attributes assigned to particular characters and disperse their actions?
- Do you need to kill off any characters?
- Is your story set in the wrong era?
Generally, from my workshop experiences I notice that sometimes characters are being forced to do something that just doesn’t fit their personality… therefore the action of the story can get blocked, hedged in, and therefore sits, going nowhere on the page.
This is the essence of writer’s block – it’s not you personally, you haven’t lost the knack, you just need to get out of that dead end.
Go create your story.
Untangle the cobweb.
Get out of the dead end.
End Writer’s Block.
Happy Creative Writing!
Sin a bhfuil anois. (that’s it for now)
The Creative Writer’s Workshop
The Memoir Writing Club
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