Overcoming Writer’s Block - by Cynthia Woolf
We’ve all had it. Suffered from it like it was a disease. Writer’s block. The inability to put words on paper or on computer screen. I’ve been facing it for several weeks now but I think I may have overcome it now. How did I finally do it? I’ll tell you.
First I continued to write, just not on my WIP (work in progress). I wrote blogs and emails and notes and letters. Whatever I could to keep writing. And I edited my manuscript. And edited. And edited. But I still couldn’t seem to form any new words to add to the book.
Part of my problem is that I’m a pantser. I don’t plot out my books. I simply wirte and let it happen. I see the story much as you do. It an organic process for me. But, in this case, I could seem to find my way to letting it happen. Didn’t have the faintest idea what or where it was going. Even as a pantser I usually have a vague idea what should happen next. But I didn’t. I’d look at my blank computer screen and see only a blank in my head, too.
So what did I do? For a couple of weeks nothing. Then one of my critique partners suggested that I read my manuscript all the way through without editing. That is a hard thing for a writer to do, at least for this writer. The only way for me to do it was to send it to my Kindle. I highly recommend this method becaue you CAN’T edit. All you can do is read. You discover what you loved about your story. You suddenly see it all in context and you get ideas about what comes next and where it needs to go. And you’re able to move forward.
The other thing that helps me is that, once per week, my critique partners and I get together for what we call “Just Write”. We spend from 10 am to 3 pm writing. Well, mostly writing. The first half hour is spent catching up from last week and then we write. We break for a half hour lunch where we discuss any problems we’re having or just visit with each other. Then we spend the last 2 ½ hours writing again.
We aim for one thousand words. It doesn’t sound like a lot to write in four hours but it is a lot. Try it. It’s hard. But it works. Just a thousand words. Then it’s another thousand and so on and so on.Try it. It works. Keep writing. Anything. Just keep writing.