You’re writing a book. Suddenly you’re stuck. Your inspiration seems to have gone with the wind. Days, and then weeks pass — you have writer’s block.
Writer’s block is common. Every writer goes through it, so don’t feel that there’s something wrong with you, or with your book. Over the years, I’ve gone through the horror of blocking many times.
There are always reasons. Usually your resistance has something to do with what’s happening in the rest of your life, or with what you’re writing.
Whatever the problem, you can end your block. Here are four ways.
1. Start a Journal for Your Book
Knowing that you need to produce anywhere between 60,000 and 100,000 words before you type “The End” can block anyone. If you place high expectations on yourself — you want your words to be brilliant — the pressure will make you procrastinate.
Eliminate this pressure by starting a book journal for each book. Then, if you’re feeling as if you don’t know what comes next, muse in your journal.
Interview your characters. Make notes. Complain. What you write doesn’t matter; at least you’re writing. A journal acts as a pressure valve; use it.
2. Begin Every Day With Free Writing
Free writing is spontaneous, timed writing, for five, ten or 15 minutes. It’s a way of generating text. Just start typing, and don’t lift your fingers from the keyboard.
Free writing prevents blocks.
3. Know Your Characters’ Back Story
You need to know your characters’ history, but keep it out of your book. Think about it. How often you do relate past incidents to the people in your life? You’re concerned with what’s happening today, and so are your characters. Your readers want action; provide it.
However, you still need to know where and how your heroine Geraldine grew up, and that she’s scared of spiders. Write your characters’ backstory in your journal.
It will unblock you.
4. Realize That Your First Draft Is an Exploration
You want to type your novel (or nonfiction) book from beginning to end, and call it done. So do I. However, sadly, that’s a fantasy. In the real world, you write your first draft, and then the next… You write as many drafts as it takes to create the book you want.
Your first draft is always an exploration. Anything goes. Create a hero who’s a wimp, if you wish. If that doesn’t work out, make him a rip-roaring alpha male. You can do anything you like in your first draft.
The fewer expectations, the better. Somewhere in your first draft will be the faint glimmer of the book you really want to write.
When you think “draft” rather than “I’m writing a book” the mere fact that you have low expectations prevents you suffering writer’s block.
There you have it: four methods to write your book without blocking. Use them.
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