It started off great. In fact, you’re ahead of the word count goal you set for yourself. But, now you’ve drawn a blank. What’s to blame? Writer’s Block.
Ah yes, we’ve been warned about this thing called writer’s block. It’s notorious for halting thousands of potentially great novels.
So, how can you beat the “block?” First, you have to understand what type you’re dealing with.
Here are a five of the most common types of writer’s blocks and how you can defeat them.
You’ve Drawn a Blank
So, you’ve come to a stop because you just can’t think of anything else to write. This is often the most common type of writer’s block. Give your brain the jolt it needs by taking a break. Step away from your work, take a walk, watch a movie or hang out with friends. Just give yourself some time away from your work.
Chances are that a little time away will help spark new ideas and get you back on track. If that doesn’t help, start brainstorming! You can also create “dream boards” that are made up of motivating quotes, magazine clippings, photographs and other items that help inspire you.
You Have Too Many Ideas
You’ve gotten to a point in your novel where you’re ready to take a turn, but you have so many ideas in your head that you can’t choose which direction to go in. Help narrow down the options by creating plans for each thought. Outline the storyline that could take place if you choose this idea. If you struggle to think of next steps in the plot line, scrap that concept and move onto the next.
You Messed Up
The worse feeling for a writer is deciding that you made a plot error long after you made it. Do you trash the hours of work you’ve already completed and start all over again? Or, do you move on and let your story take a different direction. Unfortunately, there’s no right or wrong answer and determining the best solution often causes writers to draw a blank.
The best thing to do is stop where you’re at and create an action plan. First, ask yourself “If I make the change, will I have to rewrite everything I’ve already written or can I just make some small edits?” Ideally, you’ll determine that you can make a few edits and move on in the intended direction. If this doesn’t happen, ask yourself if this new story line will make sense. If it does, pursue it. If it doesn’t, go back to the place the error was made and start writing again. Don’t completely trash what you’ve already written though… it may come in handy for your next book.
You Lack Confidence
Some novels get adjourned simply because writers lack the confidence to continue. Meaning, they get hung up on whether plot is good enough or if readers will think their characters are believable or if publishers will laugh in their face when they submit their work for publication. If you’re lacking confidence, give yourself a boost by talking with trusted friends or family members about your work. Explain the characters to them and ask what they think. It’s very unlikely that they will tell you that your work is awful. They will probably point out the things they like best and, perhaps, give you some constructive criticism to help you move on.
Writing a novel is a lot of work and it takes a lot of your time. So, it’s no wonder that some authors simply get bored. The best solution for boredom is to take some time away from writing, if you can. Try something new or adventurous during that time a way. The excitement you feel will help trigger creativity. If your deadline does not allow you to step away, try adding an unexpected twist to your storyline. This new path may help you generate ideas and stay captivated.