Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Help for Writers Block!

A good friend and a great writer had her article picked up by Tumblr.  If you've ever been plagued by writers block you need to read this. Donna does have one major flaw as a writer and that is that she does not write spanking fiction. But we can't all be perfect and perhaps someday she'll see the light. Meanwhile I think she has some suggestions we can all use.

Some encouragement from author Donna Steele

Okay, we’re more than half way there and your word count is not where you wanted it to be. Join the club–no really you’re not alone there. The thing is, if you quit, I’ll never get to read your story. Think about that.

 You’ve fallen behind, real life has intruded, and the kid spilled juice over your keyboard. Okay not that bad, but you’re ready to throw up your hands. Been there. But that happened behind you, now we have to face forward again, pull up our big girl panties and get back on track.     

It’s not easy (and childbirth is not just pressure–see I’m not lying to you) but you can do it. Go shut yourself away for ten minutes (bathrooms work) and think about that last scene you were able to get down. Feel it, live it, visualize it and make it come alive in you again.

You know what happens next. But you’re shut up in the bathroom, so just sit there and let it play out in your mind. No pencil, no keyboard, visualize it. No one knows these characters like you do, let them play. If they zig left and away from the story, let them go for it. This is their freedom, you’re just watching.

This is something I do all the time, not just for NaNoWriMo. When I go to bed at night I run that scene through again and set it in my mind. I feel like I’m slipping a cassette into the VCR (I’m old, I understand that technology better) and just watch. It’s amazing how freeing that is. I’m not writing, I’m literally letting them play. They need that since I had them harnessed to my story all day. They need to stretch their legs. The first thing in the morning, before the alarm goes off and ruins it is another good time (probably best for Saturday or Sunday). This also works great for when I’m stuck. These characters can come up with great ideas too, you know, if you’ve made them real enough.

Your mind is working all the time, whether you’re conscious of it is another thing. I was recently on a long car trip. I told myself before I started the engine for the return trip that I wanted to write a Christmas story, just a short little thing, for this year. That’s all I thought. Seven hours later when I got home, I had a story mostly written in the back of my mind. It’ll be published this holiday season – Nowhere for Christmas. It didn’t write itself, I wrote it, but it’s because I let them play the whole time I was in the car.

Another trick I use when I’m stuck is to rewrite the scene in a different POV. He sees things a lot differently than she does. Use that, get it down. You don’t have to decide which to use right now, so write them both. He might have noticed things she missed entirely and ramp the story up a notch or two. I tend to write my manuscripts in one POV. Then when I’m “finished” I write the other person. Seeing it from both sides adds a lot of depth and layers to the scene. He might not notice or care if the curtains are drawn, but she’s not going to do anything the neighbors might see. Same setting, same people, totally different scene.   

You’ve got tricks too whether you realize it or not. Share them (in December after you’ve finished this book) and try someone else’s idea. There’s no right way to do this, only what works for you.

Big girl panties on straight? Get back to it! My TBR pile is calling you…

Stop by and see me! – you can check out the blurb for Nowhere for Christmas there.


  1. Great article and it comes at a time when I am really having difficulty. I will take her advice to heart.

    Ana sent me a nice email with some suggestions also.

    1. I liked the part of letting the characters play as you're going to bed or right before you get up - I do that often. It's like reading myself to sleep without having to hold the book.

  2. o I love it..I have soo many unfinished stories..I know exactly how I want the story to go then I write and get to a certain point..I then get writers block or another story idea comes up then I'm gone again..I always need good tips

    1. Daisy,
      Sometimes writing is the easiest thing in the world - it just pours out of your fingers - but when it stop, how frustrating. Like you, I can use all the help I can get.

  3. HI PK, thanks for sharing this. This is a great article and I'm sure it can also be adapted to suit other situations as well.


    1. Roz,
      I think you are absolutely right about that. Thanks for coming by.

  4. my characters are always playing in my head...used to think I was going I know its just the inner undiscovered writer in me :-) Great advice. Thanks for sharing. :-)

    1. Terps,
      I assumed I was crazy too, and I'm not saying I'm not, but I love the people in my head. I'm grateful that the imaginary friends I had as a child grew up and stayed with me.