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Tips for managing writer’s block

Posted by Maria Murnane | October 21, 2014

I’m no stranger to writer’s block, which at times can feel paralyzing. And stressful. And did I say stressful? I recently finished my seventh novel, and this time around I battled this dreaded affliction with three strategies I’d learned from my previous bouts.

Learning to work around writer's block is key!

1)  It’s important to keep the story moving forward, so when I feel stuck on a scene, or if the creative muscle to write clever dialogue or interesting descriptions just isn’t there, I make placeholders and move on. For example, in my latest novel I used general placeholders such as:

  • DESCRIBE RESTAURANT HERE – HAVE IT RUSTIC AND ON THE BEACH
  • AVE HER WALK ALONG THE BEACH ALONE AND FEEL SAD
  • ADD IN SOME DETAIL HERE ABOUT THEIR PREVIOUS TRIP TOGETHER

Yes, I use all caps. It’s not pretty, but it works because it keeps me focused on the plot. If I’ve learned anything at all about writing novels, it’s how important it is to keep the story moving forward. You can go back and edit later.

2)  When I’ve done the above but have no idea where to take the plot next, I go to the gym and bring my phone. I jump on the stationary bike with my Kindle Fire and start watching TV. Inevitably I’m struck by an idea, so I whip out my phone and email myself a note. I’m not sure why exercising helps me so much, but it works every time – and it keeps me in shape. A win-win!

3)  When I come up with an idea for something to include at some point in the book, I add it to a document that is literally named “To include at some point.” This is basically an eclectic list of bullet points, but it’s a great way to make sure those bursts of inspiration don’t get lost.

How do you manage writer’s block? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments.

-Maria

 

This blog post originally appeared on CreateSpace.com. Reprinted with permission. © 2014 CreateSpace, a DBA of On-Demand Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.

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One Response to “Tips for managing writer’s block”

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  • Ron Jameson says:

    When you’re 91 (Yes, 91!) and short-term memory is iffy, the long-term grey matter takes over. That’s what I write about. I know I should have kept a diary, but I do have a small hand recorder, and where/whenever an idea strikes me I use the little lit bulb over my head and speak into it – the recorder, that is. Trouble is, I have to make it exciting enough for the blase youngsters of today to look back and see what Great-grandpa was up to in those days. WOW! did he do that? – You bet he did – and he’s had a few t-shirts.
    Good luck and good writing my lady. XXX

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