Is there anything worse than staring at a blank screen and not knowing what to type? Whether you’re a Pantser or Plotter, writer’s block stinks! But believe it or not there is a cure.
Some die-hard plotters would say “if you plotted out your story before you wrote it then you wouldn’t have writer’s block.” But I’m sure even Plotters get a case of the block from time to time. And Pantsers, those adventurous souls who just sit down and type without knowing where their story is going, have written themselves into a corner or two. So what’s the cure for writer’s block?
Know your characters goals, fears, dreams, and noble quest (the reason they left their ordinary world to embark on their journey.) Once you understand what your character wants and needs to achieve in their journey, stick to a loose plot by knowing the major turning (plot) points in the story. You don’t have to know every detail of your story to start writing, but knowing where your character is headed will help clear those blocks when they come.
Think of your story like a road trip from New York to California. You know where you’re starting and ending, and you also know you’ll stop and rest (major plot points) along the way. But how you get to those resting points can look different. You can take travel by plane or train, or motorcycle, taxi or bus. You can even drive the entire way. My point is, at least know where you are going, but being flexible in how you get there can keep your creativity flowing.
So you have a picture of where your story is headed and what your major plot points are because you understand your characters goals, fears, dreams, motivation, noble quest. What if you still get blocked? That’s when you ask yourself “what is the worst thing that can happen to my character right now?” Remember your story should feed on conflict. It’s where the energy comes from and conflict can blast through writer’s block. Also remember conflict doesn’t have to be external, it can be internal.
Add the above points to good scene structure and not only will you avoid writer’s block (disclaimer: nothing is 100% fool proof,) but you will have a book your reader can’t put down.
They say those who can’t, teach. I say those who have a passion, inspire others to greatness. That’s why I teach. Sure, I have several fiction and nonfiction published books out, not to mention hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles. However, my passion is to inspire release the writer in you and take your writing to the next level.
I host a weekly podcast called Teen Writers Publish on writing for teens and adults. I’ve homeschooled my four children, taught in private and public schools, and mentored writers for years on Writer…Interrupted. I also teach and tutor elementary, middle school, and high school students in creative writing and composition as well as offering private classes and for adults. So even though I can and do write, I also teach. Because nothing is more satisfying than helping someone find their voice and write their story!