|Courtesy of ledomira|
Some people fear it. Some don't believe in it. And some are just getting to know it.
For the purpose of this blog, writers block is not a mysterious ailment that strikes writers, rendering them mute so far as the story is concerned.
In my experience, only three things cause writers block.
Exhaustion: physical or mental. Your creative muscles are like any other muscle in your body. They need to be exercised regularly, and well, but they also need to rest. Or maybe you need to rest.
The cure? Get adequate sleep, maintain a balanced diet, and exercise. Taking care of your physical self will help you take care of your mental and emotional self as well. On the creative side, do something that relaxes your mind. I like to listen to music, cruise through my tumblr blog, and play with my kids. Anything that allows your creative mind to rest for a while.
Taking a wrong turn in the story. This is generally the culprit when it comes to my writers block. When I find myself slogging through words, where it feels like each sentence is stuck in a quagmire of sludge, I know there's a good chance that I took a wrong turn somewhere. I made something happen that shouldn't have or I had a character do something they never would have done.
The cure, go back through the manuscript and figure out where you diverged from the story. Pay attention to events, character development, and listen to your gut.
Procrastination: a writer's best frenemy. Writing a full length work requires diligence and discipline. To be completely honest, there are times when I sit down to work on a story, and I'm just not feeling like writing. I'd rather be checking my email, surfing the internet in the name of research, watching a movie, reading, or even cleaning.
The cure? For me, it's been very helpful to have a specific time set aside for writing. I've had to work at it, but I've trained my brain that during my writing time, I've got to be writing. If my mental restlessness is severe, I bring up my word count widget and set mini goals. For example, for every 300 words I type, I get a two minute break. This only works if I follow through on it, but I've managed to be fairly productive even though my mind is off chasing balls of string.
One last technique in battling writers block is something I learned from Holly Lisle's Create A Plot Clinic. Ask questions. As many as you need to get rolling again. The only two rules are that they have to be open-ended questions that can't be answered with a single word and you go with your muse (your subconscious mind). Before I learned to ask questions, I would just quiet myself and try to listen for the story. But asking the right kinds of questions is a lot faster, and it's amazing how many new details emerge.
What do you do to get rid of your writer's block?
Danyelle Leafty (@danyelleleafty) writes MG and YA fantasy. In her spare time, she collects dragons, talking frogs, and fairy godmothers. She can be found discussing the art of turning one's characters into various animals, painting with words, and the best ways to avoid getting eaten by dragons on her blog.