Writer’s Block

Someone asked about writer’s block in The Sword Review forums. I wasn’t kidding when I said I was going to use my reply as a column. Here it is…

Talk to a dozen writers about writer’s block and you’ll get a dozen answers, but usually the first we all say is, “Keep writing.”

Usually this is great advice.

But sometimes the problem is the need for a fresh outlook. At times I feel stale, and so does the story and the characters. When this happens, I take a total break. I do something I like (besides writing). Like gardening. Or watching a funny movie, or bike-riding. Just something to clear the cobwebs in my brain so I can tackle the story afresh.

Sometimes a block comes because the story or a character has taken a wrong turn. I’ve had this happen countless times. The character and I stand and stare at each other thinking, “Now what?” When this happens, I go back and see if there was a place where the character might have made a different choice, or even introduce an event to force the character to do something different, then usually the scene flows, and the story begins to weave together.

So bottom line, keep writing, look for fresh angles, and keep writing!

originally published in The Sword Review 2006-06-09

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