SCBWI's Blueboard - A Message & Chat Board

Writers Block

Discussion started on

bookworm452

Guest
Got any advice on writers block?
#1 - April 30, 2013, 11:33 AM

Word Nerd
Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region midsouth
Write. Step away from your current project if you must, but don't stop writing. Write a letter to the editor. Write a haiku about your lunch. Write a review of that toaster you bought on Amazon.

If you usually write at the computer, try a notebook. Doodle in the margins. Take it to the park and work at a picnic table.

Just keep writing. Your story will emerge soon.
#2 - April 30, 2013, 12:00 PM
POETREE coming Spring 2019
Uncommon stories for uncommon children: http://www.shaunalavoyreynolds.com
find me on twitter @slr

Administrator
Poster Plus
  • ****
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region wisconsin
Can you elaborate, bookworm452? Are you stuck in a current story? Are you having trouble getting ideas?
#3 - April 30, 2013, 12:05 PM
Adventures of Jenna V. Series
Caroline Grade Mysteries
The Journey of Emilie
Anne Bradstreet: America's Puritan Poet
www.marciahoehne.com

Reader, Writer, Teacher, Wife & Mother
Global Moderator
Poster Plus
  • **
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region carolinas
Take a nap, shower, walk, do something else creative ... cook, knit, sew, sing, dance.
Write a letter ...

The magazine class I teach has one exercise that is wonderful. Very concrete -- describe a setting from a childhood. But you don't have to try to remember. Just sit for 5 minutes and describe what's in front of you.

You can also begin with: I remember ...
Or I don't remember ... (this can lead you places you might not want to go, but do it anyway).

Kristi Holl has a ton of stuff on her blog called Writer's First Aid.
And I just read a wonderful little e-book called Spontaneous Combustion by Nancy Butts.
Check them out ... and let us know how you busted your writer's block.

Good luck,
Vijaya
#4 - April 30, 2013, 12:10 PM
Max & Dagny, Why in the World, Tongue-Tied, Bound, Ten Easter Eggs & 100+ bks/mags
https://vijayabodach.blogspot.com https://bodachbooks.blogspot.com

Administrator
Poster Plus
  • ****
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region dakotas
Read a ton of books, just for fun. The fact that you don't have to be in charge of figuring out your story might relax your brain enough to start putting the pieces together.

Do something creative that's just for fun. Just because you're professionally creative in one area doesn't mean you don't need down-time creativity.

Take a drive or day trip or just go somewhere else where you are seeing different scenery. It puts your mind on vacation and also helps you have new experiences so you see the world differently when you sit down to write.

It's frustrating to be blocked!! Do come back and let us know what worked for you when you get through it.
#5 - April 30, 2013, 12:13 PM

Member.
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region houston
Sometimes I find when I'm stuck that I've made my character "turn left" in a scene when he/she wanted to "turn right."  Re-read your story.  Check for "author interference."  I don't know how your characters come to you, but when I get to a point where I'm not sure which way to go, I check for wrong turns. 

Hope this helps you.
#6 - April 30, 2013, 12:36 PM
How Lamar's Bad Prank Won A Bubba-Sized Trophy (Balzar & Bray, 02-2011)
The Laura Line (Balzar & Bray, 04-2013)
http://www.crystalallenbooks.com

bookworm452

Guest
Can you elaborate, bookworm452? Are you stuck in a current story? Are you having trouble getting ideas?
Struggling to write an interesting introductory scene because mine generally come off as cliché and trying to generate more ideas on a skeleton outline that I have. So kinda both.  :stuck  :2brickwall

Read a ton of books, just for fun. The fact that you don't have to be in charge of figuring out your story might relax your brain enough to start putting the pieces together.

 :-| I don't think I can read much more, I practically read a book a day.
#7 - April 30, 2013, 12:40 PM

It's been suggested on other threads here that when you reach Writer's Block, you should just put it away to "mature". Other writers have posted that just taking a break is a solution, as is said here.

One thing I've done more recently when stuck is to interview my characters. Particularly if I get "lost" in the plot. At times I lose track of their original defining characteristics. By interviewing them I get back on track and remind myself of their likes and dislikes and their reason for being in the story in the first place.

That's what I did with my w.i.p.  It was really annoying me, so I put it away, concentrated on settling my kitten into his new environment and returned with a cup of coffee a few months later.

I found that forcing myself to write proved disastrous-I ended resenting the story. Engaging in some other project is probably the best advice I think. Even if it just relaxing with a "brew". Or munching on one of my signature chocs!
#8 - April 30, 2013, 01:28 PM

Tell yourself you're not allowed to work on the project for a certain length of time (1 day, 1 week, 1 month). When that time is up, your brain will probably have some ideas ready to go that will have been forming in your subconscious.

I think the trick is to let your mind relax and come up with something on its own.
#9 - April 30, 2013, 09:40 PM
The Echo Room (Tor Teen, 2018)
Where Futures End (Penguin, 2016)
www.parkerpeevyhouse.com

I'm going to second the taking a break advice. I revising my novel right now, and when I finished the first draft I just kind of puttered out at the end because I didn't quite know how to do it. I set it aside for a few months and now that I've come back to it, I know exactly how it needs to end.

And now that I'm revising this novel, I've had a lot of ideas for plot issues in the other WIP I have going. Sometimes focusing on something else really is the ticket.
#10 - April 30, 2013, 09:56 PM
THE THREE RULES OF EVERYDAY MAGIC (Boyds Mills Press, Fall 2018)

Member.
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region sfsouth
I have techniques that I use to bust through a writers block when I don't have a lot of time to put a WIP in a drawer.

Going outside to do something physical is key: running, walking, playing -- I get some of my better breakthroughs when I'm loading up on oxygen and endorphins. I make sure to bring something with me I can use to jot down notes because the worst thing is to be far from home when you need to write. I've even called my own answering machine and left a message there.

Yoga: I think the deep breathing is another oxygen load-up tactic but also, you're forced to concentrate on a single thing that isn't your writing. It's active meditation. Even if it's only 20 minutes.

Reading: when I was writing my first (not children's) book, it was vital that I read a ton of books while writing to keep me loose. I had to stay away from books that were in my book's genre, which meant I gravitated toward fiction in a way I hadn't for years. For me, losing myself in a book is another form of meditation because you can disconnect from whatever you are too tightly bound to without trying too hard.
#11 - May 20, 2015, 08:49 AM
The End of Something Wonderful (Sterling 2019)
Hello, Star (Little Brown 2021)
The League of Picky Eaters (Clarion 2021)
@grubreport

Global Moderator
Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region longislandny
Take the pressure off of yourself. The first draft of the scene doesn't have to be interesting. It has to introduce stuff. Once you get going, you may find that interesting follows. Once you finish the draft, you'll know what the beginning really needs to be. Many authors write the beginning last because they don't know what it needs until they know the ending it's setting up.

There are great tips above too. I turn away from the computer and let my subconscious work when I know what a scene needs to accomplish but can't figure out the words that accomplish that.
#12 - May 26, 2015, 11:38 AM
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
Twitter: @dvilardi1

Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region losangeles
Many good suggestions here!

Sometimes if I am having a block, I sketch or draw or doodle out my ideas. It often helps them become more clear.
#13 - May 26, 2015, 02:14 PM

Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region intlcentral
I loved the excellent techniques you all shared!
One thing that helps me is meditating for five minutes or so before writing. It helps you relax, wich is one of the conditions for ideas to flow more easily.
#14 - August 15, 2015, 07:25 AM

Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region britishisles
I read some advice recently about having the character (if that is the problem ) write a letter to their best friend telling them what the problem is. Just see where the character takes you. Another technique was to spend 2 minutes brainstorming dynamic verbs (run, seize, decide etc). Then put your characters name in front of each verb and write as much as you can for 2 minutes (Jack seized the manuscript and locked it in a drawer...).

I like to do those adult colouring in books that let your mind wander whilst keeping you focused.

Good luck!
#15 - August 15, 2015, 08:09 AM

Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region carolinas
What I do when I have an block is to start or go do another story. I work on one story one day and work on another the next. If that does not help, day dream. Works for me. Just lie back in bed and let your mind do what it waits too. But the last thing your want to do is think about your story.

I have finish my first PB, so now I guess I will put it up for about 2-3 months and then edit it. Only thing I haven't done yet is give it a name.
#16 - August 15, 2015, 08:12 AM

I've read research about how aerobic activity can lead to creativity. "creative potential will be greater upon completion of moderate aerobic exercise"

http://www.ric.edu/faculty/dblanchette/ExerciseArticle.htm

In this study it looks like they were using 30 minutes of activity.

Good luck breaking the block!
#17 - August 15, 2015, 02:31 PM

Members:

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.