I thought I’d talk a bit about something that all writers struggle with from time to time. Writers block! If you follow writers on Facebook or Twitter sooner or later you’ll see one or more of them talking about their tangle with writers block. I’ve struggled with it myself, although not in the way that you might think. There are two types of writers block as far as I’m concerned. I’m going to break both of them down here.
Writers block type 1: Being stuck creatively.
I have struggled with this one from time to time. This is when you get stuck in the details of your story. For me it’s not that I have a lack of ideas, but sometimes when I’m attempting to execute the idea I get stuck as to how I’m going to get the characters from point A to point B. I know what A and B are, I just can’t figure out how to bring them together. This type of block is usually remedied by going back to the beginning and re reading to see if you can open the story up a little wider from the outset. Sometimes you just need to look at the situation your characters are in and make it broader or give them another problem. I can usually cope with this type of block in a few sessions of brainstorming or going for a bus ride. When I’m blocked creatively the best place for me is on a metro transit bus. I’ll put my earphones in and ride around for a few hours while I think about it. This will usually lead me to a solution
Writers block type 2: Being stuck emotionally.
This one is harder. I am struggling with this one as I work on a stand-alone novel in between books for my vampire series. It’s a hard book for me to write emotionally. There’s no creative block, but there’s an emotional block. What do I mean by that? Being blocked emotionally when writing means you are second guessing the material, or worried about people’s reactions to it. I’ll be lucky to have a draft of this book that’s anywhere near ready for sale by next summer. I have to go slow. Whenever I pull that one out to work on it I get emotionally drained. It’s an issue I’ve dealt with and one that’s painful for a lot of people to acknowledge. It’s an important book for me to write because it’s so therapeutic, but I can’t help but wonder what people will think of me when/if they read it. The one word I’d use to describe this type of block is fear.
Fear is life’s great motivator. We are all motivated by fear. When fear of standing still becomes greater than the fear of moving forward that’s when we make changes. With this project I’ll have to have the fear of not doing it be greater than the fear of letting people read it in order to move forward. I’m determined to get there, but it won’t be easy. Some people have wonderfully written books sitting in their hard drives or desk drawers that we’ll never see because the writer just can’t bring themselves to release it emotionally for whatever reason. The fear of having others read their work is still greater than the fear of never having let it out in the first place and so they are at a standstill.
So if you’re a writer (or any creative type really) what type of blocks do you struggle with? How do you overcome them? I think it’s good to swap stories as you never know what might help or inspire someone else.