Welcome to the Writing Chair, Katie!
There you are, sitting at your computer, trying to write the next scene in your novel. So far today, you only have about a paragraph down on the screen in front of you, and you keep deleting and retyping most of that. You’re quite obviously stumped. Between the flicker of the cursor blinking against the blank page and the clock ticking away your writing time, you’re teetering on the brink of exhaustion and exasperation. You have writer’s block.
What to do?
In my recently released CD Conquering Writer’s Block and Summoning Inspiration , I spend an hour discussing ways to create inspiration and kill writer’s block. One of my most successful methods is recognizing the truth in success coach Anthony Robbins’s words: “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.”
So far, staring at the blank page and trying to rewrite that paragraph hasn’t worked very well, right? Working off that knowledge, it’s a pretty safe bet that continuing that approach isn’t likely to give you different results. So let’s try changing things up. Try a completely new angle of attack by utilizing any of the dozens of available story elements. Choose one of the following for your next paragraph and see what happens:
• Set the tone for the scene by describing the setting.
• Throw in some dialogue. Get two or more characters talking—or, preferably, arguing.
• Try a different point of view.
• Introduce a new character.
• Let us see what your character is thinking through some internal monologue.
• Add some action: what is your character doing?
• Focus on the senses by asking yourself what your character can see/touch/taste/smell/feel?
• Insert a completely unexpected element. Monsters in the closet? Long-lost Uncle Fitzwilliam? A secret passageway in the cellar?
• Give your character a new goal. If he’s been reacting throughout this scene, ask him to act out. If he thinks he’s in control, give him something to react to.
Ignore your inner editor and just start writing. Open yourself to the possibilities that these new elements offer. You’ll be surprised at the vibrancy your story suddenly gains. You may not be able to use everything you write as a result of this infusion of variety, but I’ll wager that, at the very least, you’ll be able to wave goodbye to writer’s block and move past that frustrating paragraph.
Thanks for being my guest at the Writing Chair today, Katie, and thanks for the great advice. Be sure to check out Katie's website and her new CD if you need help conquering writing block!