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swimmer
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎05-27-2007
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How to get past writers block?

I get many ideas for stories and then get stuck after the first parts of the story, but not sure what to do to get passed the writers block.

please comment...
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marta_randall
Posts: 166
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: How to get past writers block?

This is a major issue, swimmer. There are as many reasons for writer's block as there are suggested cures: what works for one may not work for another.

I think the first step is to try to discover, for any one story, what it is that is blocking you. Does the story stall because you don't know what happens next? Perhaps an outline may help. Do you not know what the characters would do next? Then spend some time on characterization, on character interviews, etc. Perhaps you need to do more extrapolation. Many writers block themselves because their first few pages, or paragraphs, or sentences, are not perfect, so they either can't go forward and spend their time endlessly rewriting instead of moving forward. If this is a problem for you, then you need to give yourself permission to write awful first drafts -- the rest of us do.

I think that each story has an engine that drives it: the idea, a character, the background, a scene -- it is the thing that made you want to write the story in the first place. This is the thing that gives the story energy, and also gives you, the writer, energy. When a story starts to falter, see if you can re-connect with the original energy source.
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swimmer
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Registered: ‎05-27-2007
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Re: How to get past writers block?

So marta, I should make a outline of the entire story and write a bad rough draft then add on to it?
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KristenS
Posts: 136
Registered: ‎02-09-2007
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Re: How to get past writers block?

Sometimes I find it helpful to jump ahead in the narrative, or jump past the story, and see what's going on ... then figure out how my characters got there.

This *can* leave you with a lot of gaps in a manuscript, but it's not a bad way to get past a block.

Do give yourself permission to write it badly, the first time, and even for a few revisions after that. The important thing is to get it done. Later you can 'fix it. I know that's what often stops me.

If you like crazy ideas, try www.nanowrimo.org in November ... a whole lot of people writing really bad first drafts in just one month. It's a great way to make new writer friends and get the motivation to Just Get It Written. They're doing a screenplay challenge in June, and in March there's an editing extravaganza too.
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marta_randall
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: How to get past writers block?

swimmer, I can't possibly advise you because I don't know what kind of block you have. If you can figure that out, you'll be a goodly way toward overcoming it.

Kristen's ideas are also worth considering.

You could certainly try writing an outline: it should give you an idea of where your story is going and perhaps show you why it has stalled out. And you should certainly give yourself permission to write a first draft without stopping to revise.
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doeyeou2
Posts: 45
Registered: ‎04-24-2007
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Re: How to get past writers block?



marta_randall wrote:
swimmer, I can't possibly advise you because I don't know what kind of block you have. If you can figure that out, you'll be a goodly way toward overcoming it.

Kristen's ideas are also worth considering.

You could certainly try writing an outline: it should give you an idea of where your story is going and perhaps show you why it has stalled out. And you should certainly give yourself permission to write a first draft without stopping to revise.





One technique used in a popular Sean Connery movie "Finding Forrester" was to have the writer copy a paragraph from another story and then continue on with the story in his own words. Eventually erasing the first paragraph.

Another method is to have a group of writers have a "tea party" exercise. See SF Plot exercise.
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mae-V
Posts: 147
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
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Re: How to get past writers block?

Yeah, writing outside of the story sometimes helps me.
We had an exercise in Aikido where, when we were stuck or embarassed about talking, we would say: Idon'tknowwhattosay, Idon'tknowwhattosay, ... until we got unstuck. I've used it writing sometimes, too. I think of writer's block as a kind of brain hiccup. By just commiting to the act of writing, I get past the hiccup. The brain gets bored with the repetition and starts to produce something functional, if not useful.

Another outcome of just writing that I don't know what to write is that I write about the writing. It's not a formal outline or anything. I just end up in journaling mode and look at my work from a different perspective. Having someone ask me about my story has a similar effect.

Sometimes I just don't know what I'm doing, I feel lost and no amount of story writing gets me found. Talking about some aspect of the story--the characters, the plot, the guiding idea--gets my enthusiasm back, usually. That extra bit of energy, the renewed feeling of delight, brings me back into relationship with the story and the process and I am able to find my way.

Hmmm. Hadn't thought of the relationship angle before. Maybe some of the block comes from feeling too responsible for the story. Could be that all the techniques that are used to get through, around, away and past it are just means to give it some space to breathe. Kinda like all the methods of curing hiccups are just ways to let the body get back into synch with itself.

So, maybe a question is: How do you resolve a block in your relationships?
#Play tasty!#
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lyra_hp
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎06-16-2007
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Re: How to get past writers block?

Also, if you're not crunched for time, I find it helpful on occasion to just stop writing for a spot. Try not to think about it for a while; sometimes your brain can just get overloaded, I think. Give it a day or so, then go back and try to write again. It was said before, but different things work for different people. This usually works for me, though. :smileyhappy:
*Never Judge A Book By Its Cover*
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dianaprince
Posts: 357
Registered: ‎10-11-2007
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Re: How to get past writers block?

I have never been a victim of writer's block, but I have come up with about thirty plots for new books which I still haven't written or published by... drumroll... listening to classical music, which has its own channel on the radio in case you didn't know. It really inspires me when I hear a song: it's as if the plot just reveals itself to me and the music simply awakens it. If the music doesn't work, simply try to remember your dreams from the past few months. Amazingly enough, dreams can be just as inspirational as classical music.
"Adventure is worthwhile in itself" -- Amelia Earhart
May the Force of Fashion Sense be With You!! :smileyvery-happy:
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