Overcoming Writer’s Block

Are you telling everyone you are starting a new writing project but have nothing to show? In the middle of your novel, short story, screenplay but find you have hit the wall? Would you rather clean out the cat litter box than write? Do you pour another glass of red wine thinking that alcohol will be the secret to producing a literary masterpiece?

You need tactics and tools to shake it up.

  • Go Old School. Ditch the laptop and get a gorgeous notebook and the perfect pen. It’s different, it’s physical.
  • Write from a photograph. Find the box of old family photos, especially the sampling of those old relatives you don’t know much about. Flip through the offerings until one grabs you. If you don’t have a box of photos, peruse Adobe Photostock options.
  • Create a giant deck of writing prompt cards. Characters (e.g. bartender, construction worker, nanny, priest, etc.) Places (e.g. bridge, beach, office, bar). Situations (buying a used car, surgical operation, Tinder date, first day on the job, a wedding) Emotions (bored, mischievous, annoyed, grief-stricken). Pick one from each deck and integrate into a story.
  • Read something that inspires you with beautiful language, pacing and characters that you stay with you a long time.
  • Do the unexpected. If what you are working on feels forced, consider changing directions. In the middle of writing Dorie LaValle, I was stuck. My original plan was to have the head of the mob family come to Dorie’s town to avenge his son’s death. Instead, I wrote about the dead mobster’s pregnant wife arriving in town. It completely changed the book. In a good way.
  • Read a section of Stephen King’s: On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. I keep a dog-eared near my desk.
  • A la Natalie Goldberg, set a clock, start writing and don’t pause. Can you do 30 minutes?

Good luck and keep writing. 

Also, make sure to check out my novel Dorie LaValle here