Writers Block

I’ve been asked how I deal with writers block.

Writer’s block plagues most writers at least some time during their writing careers. They stare at a blank page and nothing comes forth.

I’ve been fortunate so far to have avoided such writer’s block. I attribute this to my approach.

The human mind has two ways of experiencing the writing process: creative and editorial critique. It’s a natural response to parental, teacher, and peer criticism over the years to have an editor sit on our shoulder. That critic says things like, “That won’t work.” “That’s not the right word.” “That’s trash.”

This editor will stifle our creative process if we don’t turn it off. There will be time later to rework and polish our story. Creative writing is like modeling clay. We can’t mold the clay until we get it on the spinning wheel.

Assuming we silence the critic on our shoulder, the other problem I’ve seen is trying to write a story before we’re ready. We get our protagonist into a fix and have no idea how to get him or her out. At times like this, it helps to step back and let the subconscious mind mull the problem. When I return later, the answer often presents itself. Forcing the answer rarely does.

While writing Rebels Divided, I had a problem. I needed Annabelle and Geo to meet in such a way that would throw them together despite mutual distrust. Rather than pushing through this dilemma, I moved around it by writing other parts of the story. When I returned, the answer presented itself in what I hope readers will find as creative and satisfying ways.

Lance Erlick

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One thought on “Writers Block

  1. “At times like this, it helps to step back and let the subconscious mind mull the problem.”

    Oh, absolutely! I always tell people that writing isn’t a performance art; it doesn’t matter how you get it done as long as the finished product is good. Insisting on writing every scene in the order it happens in the novel is a good way to make the writing come to a screeching halt. If you don’t have one bit, but you know what happens AFTER it, skip ahead. You can always go back and fill in the gaps later. Isn’t this why writers are often advised to know the end of the story before they start writing any of it?

    Like

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