Many writers struggle with what they call writer’s block. I call it a road block. I don’t tend to have writer’s block. There’s a reason why. The main reason is, as an engineer we are trained to look passed the problem, troubleshoot it and move on.
When I’ve spoken to other writers that say they are having a tough time finishing their book because they’ve reached a roadblock, I can usually say – they didn’t do an outline. Everyone has a different method of writing. Why? Well because we are all different. We require different stimulus in order to be creative. However, there are writer’s that write stuff that they hate – yet they finish it. How do they do it?
Outlining through it.
Outlining a novel is a sure fire way to actually completing it. The outline is quick and dirty. My outlines are real basic, just a chapter outline. Then I just jot down the major things that have to happen in that chapter. Now I will admit that I go rogue on my outline. When that happens I rework it – even though I just want to write. I also give myself a time limit for reworking outlines.
Just write through it.
The other method I use is, I just write through it. Remember – it’s only a first draft. You will change it many times before it is perfected. However, by writing through it, you can finish your manuscript.
If you’re at a part in your manuscript that traps you and don’t know what your character should do next, ask for help. Research online, post a question in forums, ask your beta readers or friends for feedback. I’ve been able to work through tons of rough spots by just asking someone what they would do.
Take an active break.
Set a time for your break. I use these times to take a class. Work with a critique group. I personally don’t take more than a week if I’m not doing the above. During that time, I may beta read someone else’s stuff. Edit my other works. Research the issue. Read a good book.
Writer’s block isn’t a block. It’s when you’ve come to a point in your manuscript that you don’t know how to play something out. Writing through it works best because you will edit the thing anyway. Remember, you are not tied to your draft copy. The first draft in all cases is never the final. Well written material is usually changed over twenty or so times before it even gets to the point where it’s ready to sell.
So keep writing, even when you think you’ve painted your character into a corner. Before you know it, your manuscript will be finished.
LM. Preston is an author of young adult fiction. She started writing science fiction under the encouragement of her husband who was a Sci-Fi buff and her four kids. Her first published novel, Explorer X – Alpha was the beginning of her obsessive desire to write and create stories of young people who overcome unbelievable odds. www.lmpreston.com, http://lmpreston.blogspot.com