Thursday, October 3, 2013



Writers call it "The Wall." It's that horrible moment that occurs in most first drafts when you can't move forward. You are immobilized by: fear, frustration, boredom, despair . . . even loathing.

You grind to a halt.

You have writer's blocK.

What can you do about it?

I find it helpful to do a diagnosis, just like a doctor, to find out what exactly is wrong.
The causes of my writer's block have included:

- literally not having a clue what happens next

- self doubt

- distraction (all those millions of things I would rather do!)

- the next scene is just too hard to write

Some remedies that have worked for me:

1. Take a break for a couple of days. Go for long walks with a tape recorder. Let the story percolate. Stephen King calls it letting "the boys in the basement" work.

2. Stop your daily writing in the middle of a scene.

3. Set a smaller daily word quota (maybe only a hundred words) until you get rolling again.

4. Set specific goals that are easily obtainable.

5. Be less judgemental of your writing.

6. Read out loud an earlier scene that you are proud of.

When you slam into The Wall, you need to know:

- when to forge on

- when to change direction

- when to allow yourself to stop.

Sometimes I am just not ready to write more. I need to do more outlining, research or some character profiles. Sometimes I need a vacation. Writing is a job, right? All jobs have some vacation time built into them.

If I have a lot of other things going on in my life, that might be a good time for a vacation from writing. It's better to declare a few weeks or even a month, or two,  of vacation time rather than feeling guilty every day because you are not writing.

During my vacation, I might meet with other authors, work on promotion, read OR I might do nothing related to writing. Then when I come back to my computer, I am refreshed and ready to go!

 Some advice from Nigel Watts in Write a Novel and Get It Published . . .

Sometimes the reason your writing refuses to budge is not because you are blocked but because the idea isn't ready. Like a seed in winter, your novel may be biding its time . . . If your idea is not ready, keep it watered and warm, check at intervals to see if anything is sprouting - but don't force its growth


If I Just Had Two Wings by Virginia Frances Schwartz

Winner of the Silver Birch Award and the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fictio

Indigo Chapters review:  Thirteen-year-old Phoebe has always dreamed of leaving her life as a slave behind. She has heard whispers about a secret path to freedom, and she has seen what can happen to those who take it and fail. But freedom means more to Phoebe than anything, and when she meets Liney, a strong young woman who picks cotton next to her, they form a plan to escape together.

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