03 March 2011

Writer's Block:
When You've Run Out of Time

Writers Block: Running Out of Time

Writer's block can hang up writers at any stage of their writing careers, from absolute beginners to seasoned experts. In this series I have discussed many types of writers block, such as; the story's action has come to a stop, not knowing what happens next in your story, lacking interest in what comes next, not knowing how to make the next part fit, and not knowing how to get to the next part of the story. All of these can trip up a writer; these and more.

In this essay on writer's block, we will discuss what to do when your writers block has pushed you too near a deadline. Truly, to escape this dangerous trap, you have to be prepared ahead of time. Read the other articles in this series to see if one of the problems named fits your personal situation. Hopefully that will be all you need. Apply what you find in those articles quickly, and push past your writers block as quickly as you can.

Writer's Block and Discipline

Did I use the "D" word? I'm afraid I did. When you have a deadline, it's time for discipline. With a deadline approaching it is no time for phone chats, texting, shopping, preparing snacks or even cleaning. If you find that you are out of your chair, put yourself back in it. I have had the personal experience of nearing a deadline and finding myself out of my office chair repeatedly. Each time, I go back and sit down. There is only one way to meet your deadline and that is to write. Sit in your chair and put your hands on your key board. Consider the next part of your writing piece and just start writing.

Writer's Block and Stress

Stress itself can create writer's block. Knowing you are under the gun can freeze up your creative juices. Is there a solution? Personally, I use several versions of the same trick. I do a swift writing exercise to get me past the "frozen" stage.

In one version of this exercise, I use is humor. I quickly write one to three paragraphs mocking the subject I need to write about. This is actually a lot of fun and it definitely melts through the stress. I have made fun of the thing that is holding me back. This usually unblocks my writer's block in a matter of three or four minutes. I then throw out the mockery-or sometimes save it. After that, I usually forget all about my writer's block and get to work.

The other version of this same exercise is to write more seriously on the subject. My personal favorite is to mock up imaginary interviews with my fictional characters. This can be a lot of fun because I can drag them out of their normal setting for the interview. The character "talks" about his or her opinions and viewpoints more candidly than the story setting usually allows. This is handy for more than just writer's block too. Save these writings in a file labeled something like Character Traits. When you need to remind yourself what your character is about, pull these out and reread them. They can prove very useful. I have used this technique at the beginning of two different books. Once I finished with the "interviews," I was eager to start.

Writer's Block: The Deadline Approaches

Whichever technique you use, one from above or one from a different article in this series, do it quickly. Apply the technique you need within the time frame you have. In the end, it may be discipline that saves you no matter what trick you use to overcome writers block. If you are a professional writer, remind yourself that you are a pro, and get busy. If you are not, then tell yourself that you need to act like a professional writer -at least for the moment. Most key of all, write. The one thing I can guarantee you is that you will never meet a writing deadline if you are not writing.

Overview: 1. Use discipline to get yourself moving. 2. Try writing exercises loosely related to your topic to get yourself writing and relieve stress. 3. Write!

I hope this has been helpful. In the following essays on writer's block, I will be delving even deeper into the subject, so be sure to come back soon.

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