Tips to help hinder writers-block.

Discussion in 'Workshop' started by Evelinn, Mar 10, 2011.


    Evelinn New Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    I don’t know if this is a thread similar to another.

    I’m looking for tips on what you can do when you feel stuck in the progress of your writing.

    This is something I’ve discovered helps me a lot.
    Anyone out there into roll playing games? I thought since this is a sci-fy site perhaps there would be other rpg geeks like myself. (RPG Dungeons&Dragons) I created a whole game based on my fantasy world and recruited players. Every time I got stuck in my writing I arranged a game and the characters my friends made helped me root out problems and gave me lots of inspiration for the continuation of my story. I know that this wouldn’t be an option for everyone, but sometimes outside views can help unravel problems and hinder writers block.

    Any other ideas out there.

    RoninJedi84 New Member

    Dec 16, 2010
    If I get stuck where I'm at, typically I go back to the previous chapter or earlier, and do some editing. This kills two birds with one stone (at least for me), as I get to do some refining ahead of "schedule", and it usually gets me back into the flow of writing, and I pick up where I left off.

    Other times I'll grab a book off my shelf and start reading, just letting my mind loose in the world before me lets it start to run again. Or I'll get some music going, typically it's something by Two Steps from Hell, that driving orchestral sound that stirs all kinds of images in my mind.

    Sometimes, when I have no idea where to go, I just start typing. I'll just pick a "what if it goes this way" scenario out of thin air and run with it. I don't worry too much about whether it works or not. The key is that I'm still writing, which can either work the way I write it at the moment, or breed new ideas and scenes that can come into play later.

    Those are some ways I try to combat blockage when it shows up. Hope one or two of them are helpful to you.

    Evelinn New Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    Thanks Ronin. :)
    I usually write a whole chapter in one go and if I’m not sure how to start the next one, I go over the one I just wrote and edit it.
    When I’m not in a flow moment I try writing at least one page a day, even if it’s just gibberish (I can always erase it if it’s silly or unnecessary) luckily I don’t suffer from writers-block too often, but I like making plans for what to do if it happens.

    cornelius former axe demon

    Oct 27, 2005
    I basically got three projects all concerning the same book(s)

    - First book: storyline is finished, but needs editting
    - Second book: storyline is growing
    - Future storylines: plans for the next (couple of) book(s)

    My "main" project is the second book, it has "making up new things" and "writing something solid". When I feel like creating but not like writing, I map out future storylines. And when I'm not feeling creative, I edit book number 1. Problem with this is that I find editting rather boring, and when I'm in a "bleh" mood, editting usually only makes it worse. I'm a very slow writer, marking about 50K words/year, at a rate like that a writer's block doesn't occure often.

    Menion ze Spaniard!

    Apr 13, 2009
    I find going for a walk, seeing what happens around you, helps alot.
    Also like you said diving into a videogame or random book helps me aswell.
    Luc Valentine

    Luc Valentine Random User

    Mar 9, 2011
    I go to bed. Obviously it means I've written enough for the day. ;)

    goldenapples of the sun

    Feb 4, 2011
    I've never suffered with WB. I write a lot in my head and then type it in when I have the chance. Writing is a luxury and there's no point staring at a blank screen.

    If I ever reach the point where I'm feeling writer's block (Barton Fink being my favourite depiction), then I'd do the same as Luc, go to bed.

    What I do suffer from is Writer's Self Hate (autophobia). Can't stand what I've put down sometimes, which is a lot better than loving everything I do.

    J-WO Pretentious Avatar Alert.

    Oct 28, 2008
    Writer's block, I find, is actually all about getting dislocated from your story. The instinctive answer is to plough through the block, when it fact its actually to dig downwards. What do want this story to do? What's your main character's deeper motivations? These sorts of questions.

    Reorientation, I guess.

    mad_iguana New Member

    Nov 2, 2010
    I'm not sure about writer's block, as such, but whenever I feel as though I don't know what to write next, or when I can't think of a method of expressing a particular idea, I normally just start with something, anything, to get my fingers used to typing, to get my thoughts moving in that way, and then see what my subconscious or semi-subconscious brings to the table.
    It helps if your thoughts are too disordered or fleeting to write down; your brain begins to discipline itself, in a way.
    If the situation is true writer's block, where no words are coming in any coherent, intelligible fashion, and no thoughts are there to be transferred to the page, I think the only solution is to stimulate a (slightly) different part of the brain - the movies or a walk.
    Or the extreme option would, of course, be a night of copious alcohol drinking.
    The next day, writer's block won't seem that big of a problem at all.
    Jake Reynolds

    Jake Reynolds Wordslinger

    Sep 24, 2010
    Whenever I get lost and need direction, I write a villain manifesto. It helps put the train back on the tracks if I know exactly what my antagonist wants and how he or she intends to achieve it. By looking at resources (i.e. how), then this leads to events that create challenges for the characters. By knowing what the villain is doing, this can create a number of scenarios for the protags to overcome.

    If you've run out of steam halfway through a trilogy, then your villain's ambition may not be great enough to endure more thna one novel. You might consider an over-arching antag which you can retrofit/ foreshadow in your first novel.

    Nik Speaker to Cats

    Jul 31, 2007
    If you mean 'stuck' rather than 'numb for months', then re-writing that chapter from the blank page can sometimes do the trick. Memory being fallible, it's unlikely that the characters will say and do exactly the same as before. Rinse and repeat. If that doesn't help, you may be able to weave events and dialogue from the alternate versions into the original and move that along...

    Sometimes just re-arranging a scene is enough to break the log-jam...

    I do a lot of 'writing in note-books', especially when words aren't flowing enough to be typed. Looking back, the pages often resemble palimpsests, where less than a tenth of what I've written and re-wrtitten actually gets through. I may revise a sentence a dozen or more times, then use it later. A paragraph may be assembled over several pages of scribbles and discards. It can be like digging through a wall with a spoon: One advantage of paper is that you can strip-mine the few choice phrases with a glance...

    If a tale just does not want to be told, call time-out and do something else for a while. You may wake a week or month later with a fix. I've had stories stop in mid-sentence and be stuck there for months or even years. Then I've come back through my old notebooks looking for scraps, seen the stub and just carried it on...
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2011

    Evelinn New Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    If the situation is true writer's block, where no words are coming in any coherent, intelligible fashion, and no thoughts are there to be transferred to the page, I think the only solution is to stimulate a (slightly) different part of the brain - the movies or a walk.
    Or the extreme option would, of course, be a night of copious alcohol drinking.
    The next day, writer's block won't seem that big of a problem at all.[/QUOTE]

    Haha, movies, walks and books are usually a good idea but drinking myself senseless would certainly work too, but I doubt my family and friends would support that kind of extremism. Occasionally though, I might get away with it. Hehe :)
    Christian Nash

    Christian Nash ---- Never Give Up ----

    Apr 22, 2011
    My only writers block is time, find a way to get more of it and your onto a winner.

    STING New Member

    Feb 23, 2011
    Simon tall

    Simon tall New Member

    May 16, 2011
    Sometimes to get me going again I try to think of something very unexpected or even weird. I usually think about this when I am walking about or doing something else.
    I throw in the unexpected straight into where i have left off (e.g. an explosion, a new character, a death) and then that forces me to resolve how and why that thing occurred and how it relates to the plot etc.
    Of course this method can mess up previously arranged plotlines and make things more complicated (which may again cause writers block!) but often the unexpected can be entertaining - I know I like it when a writer throws in something shocking...
    Steve S

    Steve S New Member

    Oct 6, 2006
    I think a brisk walk clears and refreshes the mind. Also, for me, a spot of research in the library often seems to open up some new avenues of thought and can lead to solutions to knotty problems.

    In general terms, I do agree that preventation is better than cure. Proper planning in advance can stop that horrible feeling of just being stuck or lost (trust me, I know from painful experience!). I also find that a regular writing routine works best. Like most of us on this board I guess, I work fulltime and have a family, so writing in small but daily chunks seems to push things along and keeps the concentration focused.

    And try to be relaxed about it. Writing is hard, like anything that's worthwhile in life, but stick with it, push through (and learn from) the tough times and you will get it done.

    terryweide Smarter Than I Look

    Aug 9, 2005
    They say Isaac Asimov kept 4 typewriters in his office and had a different story going in each one of them. When he ran out of ideas for whatever story he was working on, he'd move to another typewriter and work on that story, and so on. I've been tempted to try that, but have never got around to doing so. Now, I suppose it would be having 4 different computers in your office. Still, the idea of working on another story until you have fresh ideas or a new perspective on your first story isn't a bad one.

    monsterchic Slowly Freaking Out

    Jul 2, 2011
    I find that writing something else, like a short story or character sketch works and frees up the mind of stuff that's cluttering up the mind.

    thatollie Kraken Addict

    Aug 12, 2009
    The key is not to get it. I don't get it if I move the story towards the end every day. So I try to do that.

    I'm not exactly great at avoiding it though. So I find coffee helps in those situations.
    Flugel Meister

    Flugel Meister Universe Builder

    Aug 9, 2010
    (Please refrain from any tempting innuendo)

    I find that a shower is quite helpful. It may sound odd but it works for me. The solitary process of enjoying a hot shower for some reason gets my imagination working in overdrive. I start playing out scenarios in my novel or exploring the characters within those scenarios. It’s relaxing and stimulating at the same time.

    In fact, during one shower I managed to come up with an entire story arc for what could play out into four or five novels.

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