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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Cures for Writer's Block


About Writer's Block...


A young writer asked me what to do about writer's block. I've posted on this before, but maybe you're finding yourself stuck right now. Hope these suggestions help.

1. Make sure you've been getting enough sleep and aren't wired up on caffeine. Often lack of ideas is the direct result of a too-tired mind or one that is over stimulated.

2. Try outlining. Seat of the pants writers, God bless 'em, are great but much more likely to get blocked because they simply have no idea what will come next. Take a day, a week, a month and do nothing but outline the major actions of the movie. Then, when you go to produce the manuscript, BAM, you've got the structure right there.

3. Do a "pride check." Often writers block is you being too much of a perfectionist you want it just right the first time. No chance. Let the story come, no matter how dumb it seems. That's what editing is for.

4. Do a "Lazy-Me-Check." Similar to trying to be to perfect is being too lazy to want to do several drafts, so you get too careful. In order to avoid the extra work, you go too slowly and get very annoyed when it's not just right. Again, let it come.

5. Get out of the Driver's Seat. The best stories are character driven, meaning the distinct and colorful personalities of your characters should dictate which way the story should go. If you're having too much trouble deciding what should happen next, take a break and write up some character profiles. Who are these people? I mean, REALLY, who are they? Go deep. What's their life story? What scares them? How have they hurt in the past? Who do they like, not like, trust, distrust, etc.

6. Read in your genre. If you are writing a mystery, read mysteries. If fantasy, read my books. {ahem}. Seriously, immerse yourself in the genre and you'd be surprised what ideas pop into your mind. Plus, you get the added benefit of seeing what's out there being published so that you can do something original.

7. The best for last: Pray. I know not all the visitors here are Christian, but for those who are, pray and ask God to place some ideas in your mind. Lord, is there a story you want me to tell?

24 comments:

JT Norlander said...

Great advice, thanks! I can already see some stuff that I can use in my writing!
JT

Seth said...

Thanks, haven't had too much writers block (more of me just not getting down and writing) but it will be very helpful.

Hannah said...

Thanks for the advice! I don't think I've ever encountered tips on writer's block that are that clear. :)

Blessings,

Hannah

Madeline said...

Great advice, WTB.

I am in a very sticky situation of not wanting to write at the moment b/c I'm scared to write without a plot. I have no plot ideas, and, like you said, think that it is better in the long run to have a plot (at least at basic one) before I dive in. So wish me luck on getting inspiration!

Seth said...

My plot is kind of developing as I go, I like doing that, because I feel like rather telling a story, I'm discovering one, and I like to surprise myself sometimes, it's kind of funny to surprise yourself.

Cloe said...

Thanks for the Great advice!!!!!

I have been having A LOT of writers block. and this advice is a big help to me.

ElizabethMarieKauffman said...

This is really helpful! Thank you!! :)

Assr vĂ­sa ykkarr or∂.

~ElizabethMarieKauffman~

Nathan R. Petrie said...

Great advice.

But what if you are physically incapable of writing unless in a certain state of energy and calmness...if none of the other stuff is in the way. Then what?

Okay...I admit I tried to stump ya...but it's the situation I'm in lol


Take care!
-Keeneye

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the advice!

Izori said...

Great advice! I've dealt with writers block a lot!

Seth said...

Hey, Mr Batson? I remember you posting some tips on foreshadowing, and I needed some help with that. Can you post a link to that or something? Thanks

B. D. Eastman said...

Always such great insight! Thanks WTB!

Austin Berge said...

Thanks for the help wayne!

Chris said...

Good tips, I need to do #3 more often...

Mariel said...

Thanks for the tips, Mr. Batson!
I'm struggling with writers block intermittently, and these will help.
For some reason, I find it hard to outline... I really need to work on that.
Thanks again!

A Writer's Legacy: Aristae said...

Your not the only one that finds it hard to outline Mariel. I do too, it's very difficult. I have a feeling my stories would be better if I did though.

A Writer's Legacy: Aristae said...

Your not the only one that finds it hard to outline Mariel. I do too, it's very difficult. I have a feeling my stories would be better if I did though.

WayneThomasBatson said...

Mariel and Aristae, you're right! Outlining is hard...by definition. You've got to sit down and plan out a novel, beginning to end. Don't try to do it in one day. I take a week or even a month, at least. But for me, it feels fun, it's the joy of discovery, only concentrated. It's actually my favorite part of the process.

Of course, you may realize that you are a dyed-in-the-wool SotP writer. If that works for you, go for it.

Madeline said...

Heh, well, for me outlining is the most essential, but hardest part of writing. Filling in the outline with my story is MUCH more fun, but if I don't have an outline it's like I don't have a frame for my building. Actually, I've always done SotP writing, and I always end up being frustrated because I ramble too much. A word of caution!

Kayla said...

Great points, Sir Wayne. For the most part, extremely helpful, especially the pride/lazy check. Today's chapel speaker touched on that too.

For me, outlining seems to take the fun out of writing the story. I already know what happens, so why write it? Though I do see the advantage behind it.

However, one major drawback of SOTP writing is that I end up doing massive re-writes later. Though I've found I'll pretty much rewrite anything I've written to make it better, outline or not.

Seth said...

SOTP Writing?

Madeline said...

"Seat of the Pants." It means "on-the-fly", kind of, like without a plan. Just writing as you go along.

ElizabethMarieKauffman said...

Thank you Madeline! I was wondering the same thing as Seth.

~ElizabethMarieKauffman~

Sassy said...
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