I didn’t know writer’s block was a thing till I found myself staring at a blank page, the urge to write so strong it felt like a stomach ache, but the ability to actually put words onto the blank page sheer agony. I started to hyperventilate, sure the writing fountain that had opened up for me had dried and now I would never be able to write again.
Thankfully common sense prevailed and before I knew it, I had found an extremely helpful article on how to get out of a block.
I now see writer’s block as a symptom and not a cause thus nothing to fear. So in order to beat it, what helps me is defining the cause. And in my writing journey, here are some of the common causes I have faced:
- Don’t know what to write because you don’t know where the story is heading
Create an outline or try to visualize where you want it to go. I usually use paper and pen for this stage. It helps me to think better. Sometimes instead of writing a long outline, I just make boxes that represent blog posts and write in them what I think the post should talk about – broad strokes, nothing in detail.
- You know what you want to write, you just don’t know how to write it
Read a book or a blog or watch a movie or a series in the genre you are writing. Let what you have learnt marinate for some time. Re-attack.
I have been lucky here. Every time I have been stuck, I have found the answer in the book that I am reading – without consciously thinking about it.
- When you can’t write because the end-point is elusive
If you don’t know the ending, chances are your outlines and plans will take you nowhere. The ending doesn’t need to be concrete, even a general idea would do. Figuring out your end-point will help you get there. Also all those outlines will start to make sense.
One story I was writing, I didn’t know how it would end but I did know how I didn’t want it to end. It helped because I could reject every plot line that would present itself taking me to an end I didn’t want. It took me a while to figure it out, but figure it out I did.
- Too many possible outcomes
Here’s where having that end-point will help. Also rejecting easy solutions or solutions that don’t resonate with your characters. If you are trying to write something worth reading, chances of it being easy are nil. So take the harder route. You will be thankful for it.
- Story has died before its time
Somewhere along the way, you made a mistake or took the wrong turn which is why you are here, staring at a wall that should have been green pastures. What do you do now? You go back. Re-read what you have written. You will find the place where you took the wrong turn.
If you find you actually took the right turn but are still staring at a wall, try breaking that wall – or build a ladder or a hole. Get creative – that’s what you do!
March is my one year blogiversary month! And I am going to celebrate by penning down what I have learnt in this one year. Stick around for more.
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