Carrie* says: I'm relatively new to your website. I'm curious to hear on what are your thoughts in regards to writer's block.
* Who, I'm obligated to point out, is not Carrie Kei Heim Binas.
I hate it. But I think I know how to deal with it.
For the purposes of this post, writer's block is any time you should be writing, but aren't (i.e. you set aside the time, opened your Word Doc, sent out an #amwriting tweet... but zero words are coming out). Take, for example, my word count spreadsheet from a month ago:
It says I was "planning" chapter 7, but that was not my intention. Even when I do plan a chapter, it's rare I don't write anything. So what happened? In this case, I was trying to get from Plot Point A to Plot Point B, but every method I thought of was weak, lame, or contrived. I couldn't find anything worth writing.
If I may generalize millions of writers into tiny boxes, I think there are two kinds of writer's block. The first is where you don't know what to write. Common causes are plot holes, poor planning, weak character development, characters stuck in impossible situations, or just a plain lack of ideas.
Everyone's different, but the way I deal with this is to GET OUT. I might talk to someone about the story, but usually I just need to do something different. Something non-creative. Walking, swimming, cleaning, yard work...whatever works (of course my wife is wondering why she doesn't see me "getting over writer's block" more often, but we won't talk about that here).
It might help to even take some time off writing, but don't do it for more than a week or two. Maybe a month in extreme cases. If you need more than that, you might have a different problem. Or you might have the second kind of writer's block: you don't really want to write.
Maybe it's laziness, lack of self-discipline, poor time management... Don't feel bad. Every writer struggles with this stuff.** Writing is a lot like exercise--it's hard to do, but you feel great once it's done. The solution to this type of block is the opposite of the first: SIT DOWN AND WRITE. Even if it's full of plot holes, contrived situations, and weak characters, getting it written down is better than not.
What about you? Do you ever get blocked? How do you get over it?
** In the 3 weeks I had in the States--a lot of which came with free babysitting--I only squeezed out 8 hours of writing. Few of them productive.