A week or so ago, I did a guest author appearance at my town’s middle school. I spent the entire day in the school library, doing presentations to the classes who have library this quarter, and one question that I was asked by nearly every group was, “Do you ever get writer’s block?”
Short answer: Yes. Frequently.
I don’t think there’s a writer alive who doesn’t deal with writer’s block at one time or another. If such a writer exists, I’d really love to meet him or her and find out the secret to not getting blocked! No matter what one is writing, there are always going to be times when the story isn’t going quite the way you want it to, or when you aren’t sure what way you want the story to go. Eventually the block gives way and the writing starts to flow again, but sometimes that can take a while.
So what does a writer do when writer’s block attacks? Personally, I’m usually working on more than one project at a time. I write romance (under a super top-secret pen name) as well as young adult, so I kind of have to have more than one project going or I wouldn’t be able to get everything written that I need to. Sometimes that pace is a little hectic, but it does give me a way to deal with writer’s block. If I get stuck on one story, I just work on another one for a while. Sometimes all I need to get past the block is to stop trying to figure out where the problem is.
That would be my advice to any writer. If you’re blocked, put the story aside for a little while. Work on something else, or go for a walk, or watch a brain-candy TV show. When you try too hard to push through the block, sometimes it backfires and you end up more stuck than you were before. Or you end up with a bunch of words that you have to delete because you only wrote them to get past the block and they don’t really work for the story.
If you step back from the story and focus your mind on other things, part of your brain will probably keep working on that story. At least, that’s what happens with me. As soon as I stop consciously thinking about the block and how I can work through it, part of my mind keeps processing and all of a sudden, the perfect solution pops into my head. I don’t know if everyone’s brain works that way, but if you’re fighting writer’s block, it might be worth a try.
And you might end up with something better than what you expected.
Thank you for sharing. Great advice!
When Shanna’s father moves out, leaving Shanna alone with her mother, her home life goes from bad to worse. At least she has Jonah to remind her that she deserves a good life, even if she doesn’t always believe him.
Stressed about her parents’ separation and worried about what it will mean for her, Shanna is glad for the distraction of her friend Tammi’s request for information about guides.
Although Shanna is still learning, she knows how to answer Tammi’s questions. The problem is, the entity Tammi is asking about isn’t really a guide. It’s a dead spirit who wants to take over Tammi’s life. And Shanna discovers that another entity, one with the power to destroy our universe, wants to use Tammi as well.
Guided by Jonah and Tethys, and helped by another being of light, Shanna must send the dead spirit to the afterlife before it’s too late—for Tammi and for the entire Universe.
Sounds like a great book. Can you share an excerpt?
Loud voices yanked me out of a dream. My parents’ voices. Angry, as usual, and growing louder by the second. I wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep until they finished.
My heart pounded as the argument continued. Dad’s voice faded, which meant he’d completely lost his temper. The angrier he became, the more quietly he spoke. Mom’s voice rose as if to make up for Dad’s low tone. I pulled my pillow over my head. Come on, people. I had school the next day. It would have been helpful if my parents had started fighting earlier, before I went to bed.
Or if they’d argued somewhere else. Like Antarctica.
Their voices drilled through the pillow. Loud, angry tones. They’d always argued a lot, and it seemed to be happening more often the past two or three weeks. My dad spent more time out of the house than in it, trying to escape from my mother. Unfortunately for me, his leaving all the time just made things worse. Mostly for me, since when he took off, I became Mom’s object of focus.
My chest tightened at the thought. I’d been seven when my doctor had told my mother I'd developed an anxiety disorder. My mother, of course, had called the doctor an idiot and informed him that a seven-year-old had nothing to be anxious about. I’d never seen that particular doctor again, and the symptoms that had led to the diagnosis continued. Stomach pains and nausea, chest pain and trouble breathing. I’d learned to control them somewhat, especially since my friend Jonah had taught me to meditate and focus. When something really stressful happened—pretty much every day at my house—I still had attacks.
Love it! Jo, thank you for stopping by today.
I just want to remind everyone that Jo will be giving away an autographed print ARC of the novel, Cutting Cords, to one randomly drawn commenter, so please feel free to comment on this blog post.