Writer’s block is a problem many people are aware of before they even start writing. These are the days when you not only lack the inspiration to write anything, but also lack the imagination. Good ideas are scarce and you are left staring at a blank page, racking your brains for a sentence to get things started.
I’ve discussed many methods for beating writer’s block, but I believe one method is greater than any other. Let’s begin!
Writer’s block is typically brought about by extended periods of writing. Over a lengthy period of time, your mind struggles to find the next good idea and it sometimes feels like any idea you do find isn’t worth the time. That feeling that you’re scraping at the bottom of the barrel makes the writing process even more difficult and a lot less fun.
I’ve known writers who experienced blocks that last only a few days to ones who experienced blocks that lasted months. Such a length of time can easily ruin the experience of writing for someone, pushing them into a state where their mind simply rejects the idea of writing again. It’s a terrible mentality that is only ever broken by a powerful burst of inspiration if they are lucky.
Such a problem inspires many people to find a solution. Some turn to professionals, and some turn to home-brewed methods. Most feel that the only solution to this problem is to take a step back and wait for inspiration to hit.
Here is my take.
Waiting for inspiration to hit is not a bad idea. Yet, it depends on many factors in your life. It depends on your health, your responsibilities, and how much creativity you surround yourself with. With that said, inspiration could take a few hours to hit or a few months. That’s a fact that places the whole ‘waiting for inspiration’ method in second place, not first, for overcoming writer’s block.
For me, the best method to beat writer’s block is to ruin your story in order to push forward.
The method does need a little explanation, so let me set the scene. You have written a few chapters, your character is in a tough situation or a dull one, a difficult scene to write your way out of even if you didn’t have writer’s block. Your dialogue becomes unnatural, your descriptions lackluster and your plot logic non-existent.
There is no good way of continuing the story, no idea that jumps out at you.
That is when it is time to ruin your story by breaking the mentality you have surrounding your novel. You think a certain way about your characters and plot which keeps you from progressing, so you have to break that mentality by abandoning some connections with your story.
Push the story forward by introducing something unpredictable. Make nonsense out of the scene and break the character's personality if you have to. In doing so, you will create a scene that isn’t even fit for editing. You may have progressed your word count, but you have effectively done nothing for your story.
Yet, even by creating such an atrocious scene, one can immediately discern a better scene from the wreckage. I found that it is easier to progress the story by creating something I don’t want in order to figure out what I do want.
Now, there are many bad ways a story can go, but seeing one bad way is enough to help me make more binary decisions regarding elements in a scene. Do I want a character to do something or say something? Do I want to throw in a character or shift the plot in another way? A process of elimination that only requires one sequence of eliminations. From there, ideas start to form and it is easier to progress the story.
Now, that doesn’t mean that every scene can be saved, but most can. And this isn’t a method that is new to the writing world, many writers employ it in order to progress the story to a point where they are more comfortable writing. It’s easier for them from then on, but I also notice that going back to see this nonsensical scene works too. You understand the scene better, writing becomes easier.
I’m not saying that I suddenly start writing with such ease that it feels like I am being carried on a wave of brilliant inspiration. Yet, it’s a lot easier to find the right words and progress the story.
Everyone will have their own methods for overcoming obstacles in their writing. Some methods work well with everyone, and other methods work with specific writers. I would very much like to hear what kinds of methods you would recommend for overcoming writer’s block in the comments below!
And if you have tried out this method of pushing forward with bad writing until the writing get’s good again, how would you rate this method?
I hope you enjoyed this writing thought and if you have any questions, or topics you want to suggest, let me know in the comments.
Good day, goodnight and happy writing!