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How I Handle Writer’s Block

When I sit down to the keyboard and begin to type, words flow. I can reach 4000 words in a couple hours on a good day. But on bad days, I stare at the screen and don’t realize I’ve just read the same paragraph ten times without it sinking in.

There’s a few things I do, when this happens. It depends on how I feel at the time I’ve hit a roadblock in my story, or I just can’t focus on editing.

1. PLAY AN INSTRUMENT.


Image by Ri Butov from Pixabay

I have a wooden and electric cello, several recorders and whistles, an electronic keyboard, and synth instruments (Pigments and Analog Lab, both from Arturia, VCV Rack, and Voltage Modular from Cherry Audio). I may not even have a specific song to play, and just jam, though I am working on the Brandenburg Concerto 3 for cello. Sometimes I break out WaveformFree (Tracktion) or Zenbeats (Roland) or MuseScore and compose.

2. DRAW!
I am an artist, and draw people, places and things from my stories. If I’m having problems writing, I tend to turn to drawing. Drawing gives me a way to focus on something visual while my mind whirls in the background, contemplating my story and where I need to go from the spot I am stuck. If I’m editing, it’s sometimes a relief just to put the story aside and work on something else for a few hours, then return when I feel a bit refreshed.


Banner image of Lapis from my Lapis of Nicodem serial

3. FORGE AHEAD.
Sometimes I find myself stuck at a particular point in the story, but I know where the action needs to go further on. I will skip ahead and write about that. Often, as I’m following my characters and their quests, I realize what I need to do to further the plot back where I left off. I’m not a writer who can sit down and create a carefully considered timeline of events to follow. I write and the story flows from there. I feel restricted, if I have to plot everything beforehand. That’s not to say I don’t know where I’m going, but the journey there is my adventure.

4. WORK ON ANOTHER BOOK
I have many, many stories that I have written over the years. Sometimes I just switch which book I’m working on, because I have a great idea for a different one that’s interfering with work on the current one. Once that idea’s typed out, I can return to my previous story and continue, no longer distracted.

5. VIDEO GAMES


Image by François Bellay from Pixabay

Sometimes a mindless exercise is in order. Depending on the game you play, you can relax, let your mind wander around while clicking your way through a point-and-click, or farming, or, for me, playing Elder Scrolls Online. Some games are better distractions than others, but you never know what might trigger an idea while you’re concentrating on a different storyline.

6. READ A BOOK!
Authors can find inspirations for their own writing in the writing of others. I suppose this is a given. It’s fun to read someone else’s story, and have a flash of insight into my own work. Sometimes, though, especially when I’m editing, reading more words when I’m feeling tired of reading words isn’t helpful. I do enjoy manga, and the picture-heavy format gives me a way to read but not feel overwhelmed.

7. EXERCISE
I own an elliptical stair machine, which I work out on 3 days a week, and I walk another three days a week. Exercise can be as great an inspiration as anything else on my list. Repeating a motion over and over that I don’t have to think about, allows my mind to concentrate on other things. I’m usually developing stories in my head my entire workout.

8. WORK ON WEBSITE
As an indie author, there’s always a website page or a social media post waiting to be uploaded. It’s busy work, but it can distract me and get me back in the frame of mind to continue writing or editing.


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

9. WATCH TWITCH
Yeah, I watch people play ESO to get Crown Crate Drops. I also

10. CHAT
In social media chat (depending on the site), I can ask a silly question about my writing and my writer’s block, and there are many, many helpful suggestions by helpful people that can get me back on track. Something like World Anvil’s Discord writer’s channel is a great place to ask questions about one’s writing. If you have a following, asking fans certain questions about what they might like to see in your current work can inspire your words.

11. TAKE A SHOWER
It’s amazing how a refreshing shower can change your outlook.

WHAT I DON’T DO:

12. WATCH MOVIES AND TV
I gave up on movies and TV a long time ago (I still watch an anime, but I haven’t seen an ad or read about anything that has struck me as a must-see in years). Most people, however, do. A TV show or a movie can be a welcome interlude, and can inspire an author who has hit that dreaded writer’s block wall. For me, the reality show craze coupled with “NOOOO” from Star Wars Episode 3 pretty much killed my enthusiasm for the big and little screens. There are only so many stupid people I can watch before my disgust levels me (I was also raised without TV because my parents couldn’t afford one, so I never developed the habit of watching).

Hah. And I was worried I wouldn’t be able to come up with anything to say.

Shiobe Rising: The Wellspring Dragons Book 1 and Trouble in Tindrel: The Wellspring Dragons Book 2 are available on Kindle and EPUB formats. Lapis of Nicodem,, a serialized dark fantasy, is available for free at World Anvil. Follow me, Kwyn Marie, on Facebook and Instagram. Check out my author website, and the Wellspring Dragons book site as well as the Lapis of Nicodem book site. And if you like what you see, buy me a KoFi!

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