By Liz LeSavoy
Everyone gets writer’s block. At least that’s what I tell myself every time I find myself staring at my computer, my hands poised over the keys, waiting for the brilliance to pop into my head and flow out my fingertips. Sometimes the problem is coming up with a fresh idea. Sometimes I can’t find the right way to bridge two essential parts of a story. Sometimes I know exactly what I want to say but just can’t find the right words. The worst is when I’m not even sure what I want to say in the first place!
So, what to do? Different things work for different people. Here’s a sample of my own solutions that help push me back into the cradle of creativity.
- I take a break. Put it down. Walk away. Sometimes a few minutes in another room, without my own words, or lack or words, burning holes in my retinas, can nudge my brain past its speed bump. Sometimes my creative juices need to stew longer, like a good soup, in order to develop some richness.
- I skip over the problem. Ignore it. Pretend it’s not there. My denial approach is great when I struggle for a word or phrase. And it’s particularly useful when trying to bridge parts of a story. Often, once I’ve written what’s on the “other side” of the problem area, the problem solves itself. Finally, good justification for procrastination!
- I step away from my manuscript and get a blank sheet of paper and a pen. The old fashioned girl in me simply thinks better with a pen in my hand. The blank page is where I brainstorm, unencumbered by my own manuscript problems.
- I read! Lots. Reading a good kid’s book is such a great inspiration. Even reading an adult book helps me. The words and message of other authors always serve to stimulate my own.
Are you sensing a common theme here? Walk away. Ignore the problem. Flat out writing avoidance. Yup. By distancing myself from whatever I’m working on, I get out of my own way. I put some space between my brain and my book. What I mean is…. Um. Um. Oh good grief! It’s not coming to me. I’ve just run into a terrible case of writer’s block!
Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? What helps you get through it? Share your tips in the comments section.
Liz LeSavoy passed away in October, 2016. She was a member of SCBWI, 12×12 Picture Book Challenge, and several writing groups, including Writers’ Rumpus. Thank you for reading her post.