Scroll down one post for Part 1.
Last time, I talked about whether writer's block is real and how it might be defined. Sometimes blocks have to do with certain fears we hold. But sometimes it's more about feeling stymied on our WIP (work in progress). Here are possible definitions of writer's block that I listed in the first post but have yet to discuss. Is writer's block:
- Inability to come up with a story idea?
- Inability to figure out what happens next in your story?
- Inability to concentrate because life pulls you in a million directions?
- Inability to get your protagonist out of the predicament you got her into?
A lot of the same techniques can help you get past tough spots in the story itself. The two I hear over and over again are WALK and TAKE A SHOWER. In my experience, walking helps both idea generation and stuck plots, and showering helps the latter. BIG TIME. Who knows why it works? It only matters that it does. The only thing you really have to do is be thinking about your story when you turn the water on. One final thought: Studying craft is an obvious help in dealing with plot or other story problems. Studying craft may not get you through a block; but then again it may, if the block has happened because you've hit the wall at your present level of craft.
As for those million directions--in some seasons of life they truly cannot be helped. But it's our job to figure out if we're in one of those seasons or if we're allowing ourselves to be victims in our own lives, not taking charge, not prioritizing, not saying no to the wasteful, or even to the good that's the enemy of the best. A million directions don't only block time to write, but they block our sense of ourselves as writers, to the point where we can feel blocked simply because we haven't picked up the WIP in so long that inertia has set in. It's easier to just not write, because we can no longer tap into the contentment, sense of well-being, or excitement that writing brings. Two or three days of discipline in sitting down and just "pulling teeth" to get back into the story can restart the flow -- and the fun -- again. Most of the time we're in a place where the choice is ours: We can write, or we can let things we imagine we "have" to do crowd it out. But that's a whole other rant--er, post.
What's your experience with writer's block? Is it real? What do you see as the causes and cures?