Does the title grab your attention? Years ago any blog post or article with even a hint of advice on writer’s block got a click from me. After publishing five books and three short stories I’ve realized something.
Writer’s block doesn’t exist.
I’m being serious. I know this isn’t something you want to hear. You want to believe that you need to watch a movie, take a shower, or complete some writing exercises and then out of nowhere you’ll bust through this wall and all the words will come. Here’s something I’ve learned over the years:
If you can’t write it, don’t.
That’s right. Don’t force it. If you’re writing and the words are flowing and suddenly they stop then this story may not be working. It may never work. Or possibly in a few weeks, months, or years, you’ll be able to finish it. But not now. Move onto a new project. Move onto another scene. The scene you’re writing may be the one thing that isn’t working.
We all have moments when our brain needs a rest and no matter how much we stare at a screen we can’t seem to put any words down. I don’t define that as writer’s block, though. If writer’s block truly exists then I think it happens over an extended period of time. Not writing for a day or a week to me doesn’t equate to blockage. A few months, a year, maybe. And for that extended period of time no words come — anywhere. Moving to a new project doesn’t do anything. No project will work. None.
But even then I’m not convinced.
Right now I’m working on a novella. The entire thing is outlined — every single chapter. When I go to write, nothing. I can push out a few sentences but then I distract myself with other things. Why? During a massage it came to me. I’m writing the novella in third person and it should be in first. I realized this when I put it aside. The story wasn’t working. I wasn’t blocked. I knew exactly what to write but my character didn’t want me write them.
This may sound like a roundabout way to say I have writer’s block but I don’t. This obstacle didn’t stop me from writing other things. I couldn’t write on that project. Now I’m ready to dive in.
Something else to consider is fear. If you find yourself staring at a computer screen and you want to update your Facebook status that you’re suffering from writer’s block, think about why you aren’t writing. I bet the words are there. I bet the idea is there. You’re scared to write it. I’m familiar with this because I experience it all the time. Every time I publish I book I’m convinced I can never write another one. I don’t stop writing, though. I may not write on the project I’m most scared of (which I should!), but I keep writing.
Sure, I have moments when words escape me, but I don’t consider myself blocked. I need a break. Or I’m bored, and if that’s the case, I need to scrap the story. If a plot line isn’t working, I discuss it with another author and find what’s broken and fix it. Taking a shower or a walk or reading a book may help for almost all those moments I need to step away and I’ll continue to do those. It’s when nothing comes, ever, I need to worry.
Speaking of projects I was afraid to write, the official release date for Dating For Decades is July 7th! However, you’re able to download it now at Amazon for .99¢ through July 31st. (The price will be $3.99 after the 31st). An official release announcement will come soon, but for now, SURPRISE!