Every writer encounters this problem at one time or another. Often, there doesn’t seem to be any reason for it and it can strike when an important deadline is approaching.
What is the cause of writers block? How is writer’s block overcome? When it strikes, how long will it last?
If you don’t have a way to deal with writer’s block when it occurs, then you could miss deadlines and opportunities. When facing this demon, some people even give up on writing entirely. Writers block can kill days, weeks, or even months of your time.
What Causes Writer’s Block?
Physical Fatigue – Endless hours sitting in front of a computer or scribbling on a piece of paper can be exhausting. You may simply be tired or burnt out. If this is the case, then taking a break from your writing may help.
Emotional Stress – The pressure of deadlines, personal problems at home or dealing with difficult people will not only cause you to stop writing, it will also make you sick. A good method of dealing with stress is the remedy. You could go get drunk or practice meditation.
Analysis Paralysis – Sometimes, you can know too much about your story. Its easy to get bogged down in the details of your story, especially if your story is complex. The way to deal with mental blocks is to simplify the system you use to organize your story. Look at the Desire Line. What does the character want? Look at the Dramatic Through Line. What is the character’s weakness and how it is harming others?
Psychological – Your subconscious mind may be trying to tell you something. Sometimes, your characters will want to do something that you weren’t really prepared for. In this case, let go of the strong grip over your story and just start writing, letting your characters take you wherever they want to go. You may throw out 90% of what you write, but sometimes you can unearth a gem of an idea.
Psychic – You should never discount the effects of the psychic world on your writing. If you believe in this kind of thing, the best ways to deal with psychic blockages to your writing is to imagine white light around yourself. This can effectively cut off negative influences that may be interfering with your writing.
Spritiual – Your subconscious mind may have something to say about your view of how to live life. The theme of your story is often ignored by writers who don’t really know how to integrate “morals” into their story. You can break out of this kind of writer’s block by having something to say, and knowing how to write moral arguments in your story. Create a Moral Argument Scene between your hero and the antagonist. Have them describe their views of the proper way to act and have them argue about it.
Your Story – Most often, what you are writing could be the source of writer’s block. If you find yourself stuck in the middle of your story, it can waste hours of your time. The way to fix story problems is to go back to the story structure. If you are using obsolete techniques like the Three Act Structure system, then you won’t be able to fix structural problems. To know how story structure works, use the Seven Steps Of Classical Story Structure. This system is described in the book, “The Anatomy of Story,” by John Truby. Get it HERE.
How To Overcome Writer’s Block
Here are three great ways to overcome writers block:
1. Feed your muse! One of the best ways of overcoming writer’s block is to borrow a technique from Ray Bradbury: Feed your muse. Read stories. Go see a movie. Let your mind wander. Read poetry every day.
2. Fix Your Story Design – Use advanced structure methods to design your story so that you always know where you are dramatically speaking. Keep in mind that structure is not a restriction, but it liberates you to write without worrying about making mistakes. This freedom can open you up creatively, eliminating writer’s block.
3. Meditation – This system of meditation is used by Mark Victor Hansen, the author of Chicken Soup For The Soul. He has sold 100 million books with this method:
- Get into a comfortabe position, close your eyes and relax.
- Count down from ten to one. Let you rmind wander as you imagine yourself sitting in your favorite place of relaxation.
- Then, imagine a dark picture frame and place your story inside it. Let all of the negative thoughts and frustrations live for a moment inside the frame.
- Then, mentally erase it.
- Next, imagine your completed story (or a finished chapter) inside the white frame. Feel what it would be like to have it done, and expect to be able to write as if you never had writer’s block.
- Then open your eyes and start writing!
This last method may seem silly, but it works better than anything I’ve ever known. For more information on this technique, read “The Silva Method,” by Jose Silva. You can get an audio course for free HERE.
– Mark O’Bannon