READER FRIDAY: Ugh…the Dreaded Writer’s Block

 

What advice would you give another writer who believes they have writer’s block?

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About Jordan Dane

Bestselling, critically-acclaimed author Jordan Dane’s gritty thrillers are ripped from the headlines with vivid settings, intrigue, and dark humor. Publishers Weekly compared her intense novels to Lisa Jackson, Lisa Gardner, and Tami Hoag, naming her debut novel NO ONE HEARD HER SCREAM as Best Books of 2008. She is the author of young-adult novels written for Harlequin Teen, the Sweet Justice thriller series for HarperCollins., and the Ryker Townsend FBI psychic profiler series, Mercer's War vigilante novellas, and the upcoming Trinity LeDoux bounty hunter novels set in New Orleans. Jordan shares her Texas residence with two lucky rescue dogs. To keep up with new releases & exclusive giveaways, click HERE

18 thoughts on “READER FRIDAY: Ugh…the Dreaded Writer’s Block

  1. Go do research.. That’s one of the most inspiring things on the planet to me and gets the creative juices going.

  2. You probably should outline before starting your writing. Outlining gives you a place to go.

  3. 1. Ask what’s the worst possible thing that could happen to your MC, and write it in the scene. You can go back and fix the outline later.
    2. Have the characters in the scene tell each other how they’re feeling. It’ll be horrible dialogue that you’ll have to clean up later with proper dialogue and beats, but it’ll get the scene moving again.
    3. Give the MC something improbable to get him out of a pickle. Does he need a get away car idling at the curb? Give him one. You can always go back to chapter two to set up why there would be a car idling.

  4. Originally I was a “pantser” who never outlined, I simply wrote. I still like to be surprised by my characters or a developing plot twist, but I’m a hybrid plotter these days who outlines the major turning points in my books.

    Having even a vague notion of plot & turning points gives a road map (like Jim Porter mentioned in his advice) & can help with guide,posts. But transitioning between major plot movements can stall a writer.

    If this happens, I find that whether you’re a complete pantser or hybrid, a writer often knows important scenes that they want in the pages to come. Leap ahead & write that scene. It keeps the author writing & often the scene might trigger a suggestion of the transition to get there,

    • Excellent advice, Jordan. When I’m stuck, I jump ahead to the next milestone and write that scene. It’s easier to “fill in the blanks” than stare at a blank screen. ‘Course, this method only works for those of us who plan our milestones in advance. 🙂

  5. I’ll sometimes find myself stuck writing a scene that precedes one I’ve thought through and am ready to write, usually a dramatic turning point. So I’ll write the dramatic scene and then ask myself what has to happen first? This lets me prime the pump so I can write the problem scene.

  6. Early in my career, the things that helped prevent writer’s block for me were:

    1. Mortgage
    2. Orthodontia

    I also found out that I tended to “hit a wall” around the 30k mark. I think it’s purely psychological, looking ahead at all the novel yet to be written. But it only lasts a day (at most) and if I just write the next seen, the wall comes a tumblin’ down (as long as my foundation is solid, which is why I pre-plan).

    The suggestions in this thread are great. I especially like Priscilla’s #2. Getting deeper into a character inevitably creates more writing excitement for me.

  7. Whenever someone mentions writer’s block, I recall a talk given by the late Robert B. Parker. He said, If you wake up and your toilet is clogged, and you call the plumber, he’s not going to say, “I can’t come fix it today, I have Plumber’s Block. Writing is hard. Do it.
    For me, I’ll go back and read what I’ve already written and think about why my characters are doing what they’re doing, consider their GMC and add more obstacles.
    Or, you can always throw in a dead body.

  8. I’ve learned that two types of writer’s block exist. The first stops you in your tracks because you don’t know how to go forward in your work. The second is much more problematic because it’s not about your work but you.

    For me, writer’s block during a project means I’ve made the wrong turn in what I’m writing, and I have to figure out what went wrong before I can go on. One of the things I do is go back a few chapters and start reading. Often, I’ll discover that I’ve made a wrong turn. Once I correct my direction, I can move forward again. If that doesn’t work, I go back to my notes and outline to see if I’ve strayed from the novel’s path. (I use Ben Bova’s character=plot ideas to figure out what my novel is about and create my outline. My article to explain what that means:
    http://mbyerly.blogspot.com/2016/09/using-index-cards-to-plot-your-novel.html )

    Long-term writer’s block is based on depression and being whacked one too many times with rejection, ill luck, betrayal, or family/health issues.

    A few times when I was between projects and editor rejections of my books were coming fast and furious, I’ve suffered massive writer’s block and have been unable to face a new novel. Disappointments and loss of eminent sales by disappearing book lines and vanishing editors is rough. The professional writer’s life definitely isn’t for sissies.

    At these times, I’ve written something else like a short story or an article to remind myself of the joy of writing, and I’ve been able to start another novel.

  9. I’m of the jump-ahead school, as well.

    But I also reread this quote:

    “I mean, what does one say about how one writes books? You just think of an idea and force yourself to write it.” –Ariadne Oliver, via Agatha Christie

  10. Mr Basil once suffered from something like writer’s block. So we used hipsno…er…hispknot…um….hipster…erm…we messed with his head a bit and made him do silly tricks.

    Hispnotstiacism! That’s it!

    It didn’t actually help him write, but you should see the pictures we got out of that day! Blackmail was never easier!

  11. “The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day … you will never be stuck. Always stop while you are going good and don’t think about it or worry about it until you start to write the next day. That way your subconscious will work on it all the time. But if you think about it consciously or worry about it you will kill it and your brain will be tired before you start.” — Ernest Hemingway

  12. Realize that the writer’s block saves you from writing. And then ask yourself whether you really wanted to be saved from it.
    If not, then, yes, just write.
    And all the way through observe yourself non-judgmentally. Don’t judge yourself for judging yourself. 😉 Just see all that without doing anything extra, and in the next moment make the next choice. Practicing it will come at some point naturally, and you will forget all about the block and just live your life moment-by-moment. You might discover at some point that you fill many of those moments with writing. 🙂

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