Saturday, August 2, 2014

Writing a Novel (Part 3.2): Writer's Block

This is why writers look like crappy, sleep-deprived animals. Because we are.

I want to add an addendum to Thursday's post on actually writingThere may come a time when you are brain-dead. Unable to think, unable to talk, and definitely unable to put pen to paper and come up with anything coherent.

This happens to all of us. We understand.

I'm of the opinion that writer's block is the brain's way of saying, "I need a break!" Numerous studies show the brain needs downtime. Whether they're a week, a day, an hour, 5 minutes, 30 seconds, or the split second it takes you to blink, breaks are actually extremely productive times for the brain.

A way to stem writer's block is to schedule in rest. Once an hour, take a couple-minute break. Do a sudoku puzzle, get a snack, watch a youtube video. Once a day, take an actual lunch break. I know many of you aren't writers for a living, but this applies no matter your day job; use your lunch break as a break. So many people work through lunch, ruining their productivity and creativity. Stop overworking ze little grey cells.

The other source of writer's block is not having the next scenes detailed in our head. Most writers are constantly working. When we're falling asleep or waking up, scenes are running through our minds. This is good! I need to imagine a scene 2-3 different times before I'm able to write it. If I don't do this, I'm left with only an outline:

  • Dainel and Arphaxos get in a fight; Seinara stops them; Dainel and Seinara become friends.

I got stuck on that scene the other day. I had to stop and lie on the floor of my office imagining all the ways it could go, the things Dainel and Arphaxos are fighting over, what type of magic Seinara might use to stop them and why... Then I was ready to write.

If you're suffering from writer's block, give yourself a break. Read a book or something. After half an hour, think your way through the scene you were trying to write. Eventually you'll slog your way back to the path and be able to continue.

And if that doesn't work? The only thing left is to look up cat memes.

You can do it! Check out Part 4 for the next step: editing. *Shiver.*

Word count: 386.