Wednesday, April 24, 2013

U is for UNBLOCK

During April, I’m blogging daily as a participant of the 
Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge (with time off on Sundays).
 Stay a minute. Read. Tell me what you think. Thanks for stopping by.
     As writers, we've all been blocked at some point. Fortunately, there are plenty of strategies for getting unstuck and I've tried my share. Here are my favorites:

  • Write at a different location. Lately I can't write at my desk. I've been staring at the curtains behind the desk, obsessing that spring is happening outside and I'm stuck inside. I want to pull them back, study the pink flowers on the redbud tree, watch the school buses rumble back and forth down the road. But I can't because everyone will see me looking out the window and think, 'Look at her. She must have writer's block, the poor thing'. So yesterday I unplugged the laptop and moved to the dining room table. Instead I can see a  hint of the backyard and a bird feeder hanging from the apple tree. And just like that I finished a chapter after lunch. 
  • Read a similar work. When I work on a manuscript, I have 2-3 similar books that have the same feel, tone, and/or subject matter as my project right beside me. I read a few pages of these books to 'get in the mood' for writing, as kind of a mental warm-up. 
  • Make a list. If I'm stuck on a scene, I make a list of sensory details that my characters might see or encounter in the setting. A chain-link fence, a cardinal, a bike with a flat tire at the side of the curb. He/she might hear a car horn, smell fried chicken, or feel the texture of the trunk of a maple tree. These details might flesh out the scene that is giving you trouble. 
  • Avoid writing for a day. Wait, what?! Now you're thinking, She's trying to get us writing again by telling us NOT to write? But it's works! I stay far away from my desk, even shutting the door. And the kicker is I can only do mundane, annoying things like iron (which I hate), weed (even worse), wash windows, and  clean out the utensil drawer. By days end, I'm so looking forward to sitting down to write the following day. 
     What's your strategy for curing writer's (or any type of creative) block?


  1. I like the idea of making a list of the sensory details when you're stuck. If it doesn't break something loose and the writing flow again, it will at least keep you in your story world for a bit longer than if you gave in to the block.

  2. Those are great ideas Dawn thank you! Will keep them in mind!


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