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working writer wending her way through the labyrinth that is self-publishing

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Writer's block and how to get out of it

I have adopted a certain method to stave off the doldrums and writer's block that inevitably arrives. And so far it has worked--And I hope I don't jinx it by writing about it! (I'm superstitious that way)

If I get to a place where I'm going back and forth in the narrative changing little details and not liking it for some reason I take a step back, put it away and work on something else. Sometimes just a day of this will put me back on track. Other times the other piece takes off and I continue working there until something calls me back to the first one. Either that or I finish the second one and then go back.

I've learned to recognize these hints when they begin. The first can be the feeling that I'm a terrible writer, (and that can lead to bouts of depression and the thought that I'm not going to write anymore--said in a really voice or even yelled), the second can be questioning the plot line and going over and over other ideas that might be better while becoming more and more confused. The third is simply loss of interest.

What happened to me recently was number one and two. I'm still interested but just can't see my way clearly. The second piece of writing I moved to is also the start of a novel, one that I have plotted out somewhat in my mind. That plotting sent me screaming away several months ago. Well now that I'm working on it again I'm glad of the ideas that I had because the writing is flowing along easily. And I'm interested in what is going to happen next.

When things are going smoothly and the muse is on my side, the narrative appears on the page as though I'm reading a book instead of writing one. This is one clue that I'm on the right track. The other can be forgetting to eat and dialogue between characters running through my mind when I'm walking or washing dishes or in bed.

Having two projects going at the same time may not work for everyone, but it works for me. The second project could be something completely different, like an ongoing blog or a short story or some other type of writing that piques your interest. Anything to take your mind away from rehashing and rehashing.

How do you as a writer deal with the issue of writer's block?


  1. I might focus on writing related stuff, submitting, or critting, etc. I wouldn't begin a new project or have two on the go. For me that would be disastrous. When I'm stuck midway on a plot point, it can be like banging your head on a gravestone. Often a good night's sleep and/or an early morning swim clears the problem. Other occasions I find it useful to let my fingers think for me, using the keyboard like a planchette and mentally doodle with words. But I sit at the keyboard irrespective. :)

    1. everyone is different, Mike! I like your idea of doodling with words...I always did enjoy the Ouija board! I tend to decide plot lines and then realize I have no idea how to complete them--having that problem right now in both projects!