Writer's Block and how to Vanquish It

We all have those points in our novels where we're stuck.  We don't know why our characters are acting like jerks. We don't know what's going to happen in the next scene. WE DON'T EVEN KNOW IF WE'RE GONNA FINISH THE BOOK FOR CRYING OUT LOUD.

But do not be discouraged, ninjas! WE SHALL CONQUER THIS THING CALLED WRITER'S BLOCK TOGETHER. *cue confetti and cheering*

Enough of the pep talk. Onto the tips. (look at that such a nice intro I don't think I've ever pulled that off before)



1. Review Your Planning

You must have done at least some planning, no matter how minimal it may have been. (I've always been a bit of a pantser myself. *nods) So go back to those character interviews, those map drawings, those plot diagrams. Take the time to go over them again. Remind yourself of where you want your story to go. And then try to move your story in that direction.

2. Don't Nitpick

If you're stuck, don't nitpick plot ideas that may not seem to work perfectly. Focus on getting the words down. I've ended up stuck for days before because I had to find the perfect plot domino to fall next. Don't strive for perfection; that's for the editing phase. Strive for coherency. If you're feeling stuck and still getting words down, as long as they're coherent, you can fix that in editing.

3. Get Feedback

Ask your friends, siblings, neighbors, blogging buddies, critique groups, etc. What do they think? Maybe someone else will drop the perfect idea into your lap, meaning you just have to develop it.

4. Don't Wait for Inspiration

Peeps, inspiration is finicky. It's like a dragon. It can go wherever it wants, do whatever it wants (mostly), and help whoever it wants. So don't count on it to help you. You could be waiting for days, just because you want " a stroke of inspiration." WHEN YOU COULD BE DOING THE NEXT TIP!!! (but if you really really want some inspiration I'd recommend looking at pictures like the one in this post *nods*)

5. KEEP WRITING!!

The easiest way to get unstuck when you're stuck is to KEEP ON WRITING!! . Write like your keyboard is on fire. Write until your fingertips are numb. WRITE LIKE RABID POLAR BEARS ARE CHASING YOU. Eventually, guess what? You're no longer stuck! Of course, you may have a few spots that need some major editing, but that's totally okay. That's why this is called a "first draft."


(I had a beautiful intro guys I can get away with not writing questions or a conclusion thingy. XD If you wish to comment, you can simply say "great post" of something generic since I have no questions for you to answer. I'm letting you off easy this time. :P)

~ Jonathan

P. S. Stay tuned for my next giant post in which I do four tags at once.

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40 comments:

  1. #notsurewhatnumberbutmaybefirstcomment
    I love that picture too!

    *gasps* BUT JONATHAN. It's not Wednesday! :P

    Nice post, also. I've had writers block SO-MANY-TIMES, especially in April. But I mostly overcame them. (Thanks to you and the rest of the peeps at camp NaNoWriMo! :))

    I'm typically a seat-of-the-pant-writer, too. But I do a very rough outline of the story. It's like: it starts doing this and ends doing this. Now let's make up the middle XD

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    1. #goodjobyouwerefirst XD
      Yes I know Canva is like awesome. :)

      Wait do I have a tendency to post on Wednesdays? XD

      Thanks! Camp NaNo is definitely extremely motivating... XD

      SAME just means you have to edit more. :)

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    2. #secondtimebeingfirst :P

      (We resolved the tendency on G+ XD, so I won't comment in that)

      Yeah... Haha... I haven't written at all since April.
      Mostly because I've been trying to catch up on my reading... I did read during April. (CINDER IS SO GOOD SO FAR, YOU SHOULD READ IT)

      Ugh. Editing. I haven't even done that yet, and I shiver at the thought. I hope it's not as painful as every author makes it out to be... ;)

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    3. XD I've only written like, 3k words so yeah. :)
      UGH YES I KNOW I'M SO BEHIND ON MINE ALSO. (Okay putting it on hold at the library as we speak XD)

      XD Don't worry it's not THAT bad. :) First drafting is definitely more fun for me though.

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    4. XD I didn't read a lot today, either. I've got quite a bit to read for school and some makeup work. And then I spent some time Pinteresting (XD) and world building for a new story I thought up about a guy who has to enter the 'discarded' nightmares caught in dreamcatchers.

      I've heard first drafting is many authors favorite part. But it makes sense. I mean, that's the creating part :)

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    5. Oh my goodness that sounds like such a good story idea though. XD

      XD Exactly. :)

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  2. "Great Post" Lol, no really this was great! I am struggling with writers block right now, and I'm blaming it on feeling down. But, in all honesty I CAN push myself more and do some of these tips you shared, so thank you! Even though I don't get the chance to read all your blog post, the ones I do are super helpful! Thanks!
    ~Grace Ison

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    1. XD Why thank you! :) AND YES YOU CAN DO IT. *cheers* Aw thanks, glad I can help someone! :)

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  3. No, seriously, this is an amazing post! :D

    And believe it or not, I just recently did EVERYTHING you listed ;) I forget stuff a lot, so if an idea pops into my head, I write it down right away; either in a notebook or a page on my computer. Either short notes or scenes that can be added into the story later on. Definitely helps to keep me on track. Coming up with the plot can be hard, but I usually have an idea that will last me for the day, then while I'm lying in bed waiting for myself to go to sleep, I formulate more ideas to write the next day. Not sure if that's THE best idea, but it's worked so far for me :D
    Critiquing is SOOO important! I find it helps more if you ask friends who are writers themselves because they seem to - understand better ;) Take for example my sister. She HATES writing so when I ask her opinion on something I'm writing, all she says is "Good". Which really doesn't help me that much :P

    As for inspiration...totally with you there. Too bad there isn't like a store or something where you can buy it. Those days where you have NO inspiration whatsoever are absolutely horrible. *shudders* Just staring at the screen or doodling on the page. You can usually tell how much inspiration I had by the amount of pictures per page :P The more pictures, the less inspiration.

    Question for you: How do you like to edit your stories?

    And now I will stop this comment before it gets too long and because, well - wanna guess what I should be doing? Yep.


    WRITING XD

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    1. XD Thanks so much, Blessing! :)

      Wow, good for you! I have a tendency to forget things sometimes also. Like CAN SOMEONE PLEASE INVENT SOMETHING THAT RECORDS WRITING IDEAS YOU THINK. Or something like that. XD Those are some good ideas, though. :)
      I KNOW OHMIGOODNESS IT IS. *snickers* Yes they most definitely do. XD My twin is the EXACT. SAME. WAY.

      Ikr? YES THE BLANK SCREEN. (and what I call "The Terror of the Blinking Cursor XD) *shudders* :P

      Hmm okay so right now actually I'm working on editing a story for this contest I'm in (the one I mentioned in my last post) and basically I a) got feedback from some other (writer XD) friends, b) copied the feedback into the document with the story, c) and then pretty much just worked on the things they mentioned. I would maybe do a rewrite, but it's only 1.4k words, so I felt like it would be easier to just add and remove stuff as I saw fit. :) Since there wasn't a ton of stuff to work through. :) That was sorta a ramble but I hope I answered the question somewhere in there. XD

      YES. GO. WRITE. XD

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    2. "The Terror of the Blinking Cursor"
      That literally killed me. LSIMHBIWFEFMTALOL (translation: laughing silently in my head because it wasn't funny enough for me to actually laugh out loud) *snorts* I don't know why. Maybe I'm just too tired ;P

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    3. Oh, you're entering the Writers Unite contest, right? So am I! Started RATHER late, so now I'm rushing, which isn't EXACTLY ideal, but oh well :P

      Wait - you have a twin?! I had nooooo idea :/

      Terror of the Blinking Cursor, huh? Interesting... I'm looking at it right now XD

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    4. Yup! You are? Wow fun! Good luck! And to be honest, I also started kinda late, because I had a story idea that I was working on, but then I realized it would take me too long to write. XD So then I whipped up another story that I'm wrapping up edits on and hopefully will have sent in by tomorrow so yay! :) :)

      XD Yup we're both in my pic. I'm the blonde. :)

      *chuckles* XD

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  4. I like the "pantser" idea. I may have to use that. :)

    Yep, putting stuff up for other people to critique really does help. (You saw my during-writer's block and post-writer's block story.) Comments help, people!!! :-) (To any OYANers on here who read and commented on that, thanks again!)

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    1. XD I would say something witty like "You can quote me on that." but I honestly have noooo idea who came up with that term and it most certainly was not me so yeah. :P

      Indeed it does. :)

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    2. I see. Well, I've never heard it before you said it, so yeah. :P

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  5. I actually have been dealing with writer's block this week! I am working on a short story and had the first two "acts" done but nothing to end it all. Happens every time I try to write anything. But I am determined not to let this story fade into ignominious incomplete kilobytes, so I took another look at it and started typing and behold! Right before my eyes, the direction for my last "act" unfolded. I think it was the Lord, because I am writing this story for Him and about Him. Anyway, that's my writer's block tidbit from this week.

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    1. Ah, I see. :) (*whispers* it's happened to me before... I should finish those stories XD) You can do it! :) That's great! :D

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  6. I love this post. Great tips and I have the habit of nitpicking......

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    1. Thanks, Hannah! XD Sometimes I do also... :)

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    2. YES ME TOO. It's so hard not to go back and nitpick EVERY SINGLE SENTANCE of my stories so far.

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  7. Love the part about not waiting for inspiration. I have that problem a lot, if I don't feel inspired then I often won't write because I don't "feel like it". A bad habit. Generally I have to force myself to write.
    Great post! #genericcommentlikeyouwanted XD

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    1. Oh my goodness I'm the same way. :) WWing typically helps me a lot. XD
      Thanks! XD

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  8. FINALLY! I have been needing tips on how to 'vanquish' my writers block. These will really help me! Good post!! :)

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  9. *takes a deep breath* I have a confession to make: I'mterribleatcreatingoutlinesforstories.
    *another deep breath* Whew, I'm glad THAT'S off my chest!
    This is a bad habit of mine, but I usually start a story with no clue how its going to end except the basic good-guy-wins-bad-guy-loses end. I've been working on getting better at actually WRITING OUT an outline BEFORE writing any of my story (applause anyone?). Before I realized how desperately a story needs an outline, I usually just wrote as ideas came to me. I know, I know, its terrible. Still, even now as I make myself do outlines for my books, the end usually becomes COMPLETELY different half-way through my story-line. I think flexibility is a huge part of writing.
    Usually the way I remedy my writer's block is by either switching stories temporarily so that a few days later I can come back to the trouble spot with a fresh mind, switching to a different POV just for fun, or just taking a break. Sometimes even the best mind simply needs a rest! (I speak from experience. ;P) Also, going to bed at a proper time *cough, cough* can help you keep your mind alert. Just saying.
    Thanks for the post! Very helpful. ^_^

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    1. Applause, applause, Rebekah! Wonderful job creating outlines! (I am attempting that for the first time too, it is ACTUALLY helpful. :P)

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    2. *snickers* Confession: I legitimately have no formal-written-out outline for my novel. *gasping* XD
      *slow clapping* Good work! :) Yes flexibility is definitely important.
      Ah yes switching POVs would be helpful for me, but my novel is in first person... so yeah only one POV allowed. XD
      *innocent expression* Oooooorrrrrrr maybe you're more inspired late at night!!!! :P

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    3. *gasps* Actually, I figured I wouldn't be the only one who didn't write outlines... ;) And believe me, my outlines are a FAR cry from "formal". Does that word even exist?
      *in a whisper* I've been working on switching to a different POV in a first person book, but we'll have to see if I can pull it off.
      Riiiigght. *rolls eyes*

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    4. Nope you're not alone. XD Umm... *looks it up* yup actually it does. XD
      OOHHH *points to Bethany's and my conversation below* Don't worry I read a book that did that. (and this book is NYT bestselling... so yeah. XD)

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  10. This is so helpful! All great tips, thank you! Getting feedback/encouragement from friends, family, and bloggers is one of the most helpful things for me. It makes me HAVE to keep writing because when they ask you about it, you can't say "Oh, well, I haven't actually done any writing." You have to be able to say that you've at least written some. So that's why I appreciate my blog readers so much. :)

    Also, like Rebekah says, switching POVs is also helpful for me. When I don't know where to continue with, just jump to another POV!

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    1. Thanks, Bethany! :) Yes feedback is helpful for me also. ;)

      Ah yes POV switching if helpful also. *nods* My novel is first person, which limits me, but I can definitely see how that would be helpful in a third person novel. :)

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    2. I can see how that would be difficult to switch POVs in a first person novel, but maybe you'll find some way. ;)

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    3. I've seen it done before, so I could probably make it work... if I needed to XD

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  11. I actually rarely get writers block, mostly because I Plot before hand.

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    1. Ah yes that's always a good idea. :)

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  12. Oh my goodness. This post is so for me. All great tips! 2, 4, and 5 sounds so much like me. ;) I'm really bad to just not write because I'm waiting until 'everything is perfect'. Yeah, doesn't work real well. :P

    Congrats on the grand intro and I suppose we can let you off the hook (get it?!?!) for no post conclusion. XD

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    1. OHMIWORD Same I tend to have a bit of perfectionist in me also. XD

      Thank you. *bows* :P (*snickers*)

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