The Banging-Your-Head-Against-the-Wall Approach
I’ve been banging my head against the same scene for the past two weeks and made zero progress.
Yes, I tried all the standard techniques to keep the story moving forward–I have quite a toolbox of them–but I don’t want this to be a post about how to brainstorm, mindmap, freewrite, daydream, or use other tools to find your way through writer’s block. Those tools are great ways to generate more ideas surrounding your writing problem and, generally, using one or two (three, tops) is enough to get me back on track.
But after a week of looking at the book from different angles, writing the scene from different starting points and different points of view, listing sensory elements that could appear in the scene, etc., all I have is a collection of fragmented paragraphs and notes that don’t successfully take me from point A (the previous scene) to point B (the next scene.) It made me realize that my approach to the problem had been purely one of brute force: I was going to generate ideas and options until I completely demolished that roadblock!
Writer’s Block With a Purpose?
But what if the roadblock is there for a reason? Pardon me for stretching the metaphor, but what if there’s a bridge out ahead? What if there’s some reason that my muse doesn’t want me to continue down that particular path?
As writers, I think it’s easy to get stuck in the DEMOLITION mindset…
I WILL force my way through writer’s block, no matter what the cost!
…rather than considering the possibility that writer’s block is often there for a reason. Maybe that reason is simply that the story wants to go in another direction. Maybe it’s time to take a detour.
So that’s what I’m doing today: I’m taking a detour in my writing I’m backing up a little in the narrative and looking for other directions to take the story. Check back later to see if the experiment is successful!
How do you handle writer’s block? What do you do when the traditional brainstorming/freewriting strategies aren’t helping?