So You Want to Write Part 11 – How to AVOID Writer’s Block

Pages and pages of suggested cures and tips for overcoming writer’s block are easily accessible to the afflicted all across the Web. With a quick Google search there’s no end of  advice for overcoming the author’s worst enemy.

Jon-Acuff(A good page I came across recently is on Jon Acuff’s page – he often gives sound advice.)

But rest assured, I’m not going to add to the potpourri of suggested writer’s block cures.

Read on.

 

I appreciate when my GPS warns me of potential roadside construction, traffic jams, and tumblr_mz0tciaEZ11t35jb8o1_400large bodies of water that might obstruct or delay my end goal of reaching my destination.

So instead of giving you some cures for writer’s block, I’m going to give you a few tips on how to avoid it in the first place. But keep in mind, nothing is a guarantee – and the absolute best tool you can put to use is your own ambition, which is something no one can give you but yourself.

 

HOW TO AVOID WRITER’S BLOCK

1. Keep your story interesting

I’ve found that most of the time I run out of something to writer or get stuck, is not because I’ve lost momentum, but because I’ve lost interest. The book (or story) might still be a great concept, but somewhere along the way I took a wrong turn, or I’ve lingered too long on an anticlimactic scene. Avoid this by always having an ending point in mind for each particular scene. If you’re writing at point A, know the steps you need to take to get to point B, and take them. Remember, if you lose interest, your readers will certainly give up reading.

2. Write different

In X-Men: The Last Stand, there’s a scene where big, tough Wolverine gives this super-Joey-dave-coulier-30111015-300-225cheesy speech about how “we’re X-Men; we stand together.” I mean, seriously? Look kids, it’s Joey Gladstone with claws and sideburns! It’s a painful scene to watch. We’ve all heard the “We are united” speech a million times. Blah, blah, blah. Avoid stuff like that. If you don’t, you’ll read over your work in a week, realize how bad it is, and lose stamina and fall into a permanent writer’s block. Stop copying templates; write your own template.

3. Don’t read too much

e0fc57b64b14ce730c828ca088394c1b_answer_4_xlargeI cannot agree enough with all of the advice for curing writer’s block which says, “Read great books.” Yes, read books of your book’s genre. Read award-winning books. Read! But don’t read, read, read. I struggle with this more than anything else. First off, reading takes time away from writing. Secondly, you might end up with more good ideas or ah-ha moments than you know what to do with. And though that’s better than having no ideas, it can become overwhelming and next thing you know, a block has been dropped in your writing groove.

4. Always, always, ALWAYS have something unpredictable in mind

Whether your outlining your book or writing by the seat of your pants (plotter or pantser), tumblr_m8fcinfzZT1r76lino1_400you should always have some major plot point in the distant future that’s so unpredictable, so unthinkable, so surprising that you just can’t wait to get to that scene and shock the life out of your readers. This makes for great storytelling and plot twists, but it also provides gallons of stamina to keep those fingers flying over your keyboard at 230 wpm. (Tip: resist the urge to write that scene ahead of time; work up to it. It’ll be like a reward when you finally reach it. If it’s shocking enough, you won’t even need to take note of it.)

5. Write multiple books at once

This might not be feasible for most people, since everyone has a good book in them, not “books.” But since my end goal is to be a bestselling author, I’m working on three books right now (all very different genres). If I need a change, I simply switch over to another book just to help keep things fresh.

6. Observe the world as though it’s your book

alien-invasionOne of my books is about a world-wide alien invasion. Quite often I stop and look up at the sky and wonder what the guy walking his dog would do if he were being shot at from an invisible spaceship. Or when I’m watching The Office with my wife, I’ll catch myself wondering what we’d do if everything just went black and things started blowing up around us. This helps me add scenes or thoughts or feelings that otherwise would not have been in the book, thus more material to write.

Follow these steps, and you’ll be that much closer to that coveted “The end.” Happy writing! And remember, it’s the weekend; not the work-end.

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About adoptingjames
My lovely wife and I are foster parents, dog owners, home owners, and Christians. I am a blogger, book editor, and author. On my blog you'll read about adoption, faith topics, inspirational thoughts, and a whole lotta Disney/Pixar lovin'! For the most exciting read ever, check out my suspense/adventure novel, The Man in the Box. You. Will. Love it.

24 Responses to So You Want to Write Part 11 – How to AVOID Writer’s Block

  1. Great advice, James. Many thanks for sharing it with us. You have certainly given me much food for thought.

    • hughiegibson says:

      Good strong name. There aren’t many of us!

    • Rae Myst says:

      I got completely absorbed in this post of yours because I’ve had so many questions going through my mind as I am writing my first novel. In the end I pretty much had to answer the questions on my own and follow my intuition but your advice helps me navigate through the unknown with a little more piece of mind.

      Thanks for following “The Ramblings of an Honest Weirdo!”

  2. Great info. I always thought I was nuts for writing more than one book at a time.

    • Nope. Keep at it. I almost added this in the post: Brad Bird, director of Ratatouille and the Incredibles worked on both at the same time, and they’re among the two greatest films ever made. I always admired that.

  3. hughiegibson says:

    I really love number 5, I do this quite frequently, unfortunately it means it takes me longer to finish a project but that is how my brain works. I’m always thinking about different projects depending on my mood, this means I write a wide array of genres.

    I have had a writing coach tell me in the past not to do this as it mucks with a vision, I find this to not be the case for me.

    Also I like to listen to music, sometimes I get “those ah ha moments” from listening to my favorite lyricists.

  4. anag7 says:

    This is just the article I needed since I’ve been dealing with major writer’s block! Perhaps I do read far too many books a week, so it takes away from my writing time. I love the advice to write something unpredictable. That is what I’m trying to accomplish with my own book I’ve been working on, and I believe I have quite a great twist readers won’t see coming. And I love that he mentions to observe the world as if it’s my own book. I do that all the time! It has me looking at people and creating random alternate lives about them in my head that can get pretty interesting and I can use to create characters in my story. Thanks for this insightful post!

  5. BTW07 says:

    Oh, gosh, “X-Men: Last Stand” is so awful. You’re spot on about how we should write differently and follow our own template. I try to do that with my writing too. I really like your advice about not reading too much because that’s something I always come across when you hit a writer’s block. But you’re right in that it can be overwhelming. And I couldn’t agree more with #6, although I sometimes look at the world as if it’s a movie too! Thanks for a great post!

  6. jimrada says:

    No. 5 should be no. 1 in my experience. The best tip for avoiding writer’s block that I’ve found is to have multiple projects going. If you start to stall on one project, jump to another project for awhile and then come back to the original project later on. It keeps both projects moving forward while giving you a mental break from them while you are working on the other.

  7. Great advice. I admire anyone who can pen good stories. I just focus on reviews so I don’t have to worry about writer’s block that torments you creative types. Explaining why I dislike something pretty much writes itself :-)

  8. Wairuanor says:

    There is no such thing as writer’s block. You either write, or you don’t. There is nothing that can keep you from writing if you really want to. You simply have to be a professional and turn up. Every single time. Many (or even most) successful authors have writing schedules. And they turn up for it, they get their books written without excuses.
    I had to learn that lesson myself. I always pretended that I don’t get things written because I suffer from “writer’s block”. It was just a silly excuse. I still don’t write enough on my own books (I do lots of ghost-writing and other freelance writing though), but it’s not because I’m blocked. Sometimes writers simply have to ask themselves: What is the TRUE reason why I’m not writing on this?

  9. Corrie says:

    Great tips…I especially loved number four. Our veggies taste so much better when we know there is chocolate cake for dessert. :)

  10. I like your ideas. I worked on 2 books at once, but when the first one was closer to done; I worked solely on it. Sometimes I got the two little girls confused. Megan was in the first novel and Bailey in the 2nd, but I occasionally managed to put them in the wrong book.

    • As you near the end of your book, it makes sense that you would pick up momentem and want to glide into the end of it without other distractions. That’s what happens when I’m reading a few books simultaneously.

  11. Reblogged this on A Blog about Dre and commented:
    This happened to have happened to me. Particularly number three.

  12. This resonates pretty well for me across all of them. The key stone is in your first point, but the third particularly resonates with me.

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