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Killing Writer's Block - How do you do it?

Avenger Angel

Warrior of Heaven
I think we've all hit this at one point or another. It's that infamous state in your story where you really want to keep going, but for some reason or another, you just can't.

How have you overcome Writer's Block in the past and what kinds of advice could you offer up for others?

For me, I have a few approaches I have used in the past that worked surprisingly well:

  • Reread what I have already written. Not only does it help with proofreading and editing, but I find I sometimes spot untouched elements of the plot that I can touch base upon again and further build up, which allows me to keep going. Rereading also helps remind me of parts I enjoyed writing and helps inspire motivation to keep up the pace.
  • Backtrack. Maybe the story took a direction that just isn't working out or doesn't seem to hold much future promise. I have often considered deleting some stuff. I had one story that struck a horrible Writer's Block snag, and I found deleting the last 30 pages and having one event in the story get totally changed saved it and allowed me to finish it all the way to the end. It took a VERY different direction, but hey, it worked well and I'm glad I did it.
  • DO NOT start writing something else. I find it distracts me from me current story and eventually I'll forget or not care about why I started it in the first place. Not to mention the ideas that I had building for it will just go drip down into the gutter. I find that unless you're absolutely giving up all hope on the story, it's better to just read through things again and backtrack to see if there's an alternate route that might work better.
  • I often compare my story to a video game or movie and come up with a few that are very similar to it in terms of themes, events, and characters. I then listen to that game's or movie's soundtrack, imagine the characters/events/themes in my mind, and get inspired to create events, situations, and settings by giving that brainstorm session some inspiring music. If a crazy idea comes to mind that might have some potential, I just try it! I've tried a few this way and they worked well and fluidly with other components in the story. This is often how I start a story in the first place and it helps through the process mid-way as well.
  • Using placeholders for things isn't such a bad idea if you're stumped and just feel like putting something down to keep going. For one fantasy story I wrote, I originally used a town of Halflings, but I decided later on that it just seemed too boring and not very original. Instead, I replaced them by creating a whole new race of creatures that resemble humanoid foxes that have wings and called them Fennians. It was a nice, original twist that worked well.

So what are some successful things you have done to kick a long hiatus in the butt as a result of Writer's Block?

jireh the provider

Video Game Designer
You know, all of those advice you shared are very good to do. Kudos on those, especially video game music. The reason why I am fund of background music and video game music is because I'm the type of reader that needs some music to ho along the scene of what I'm writing.

So far, I kinda need both a break on writing and writer's block at the same time. You see, for me, it's about impossible to just go with one work until you reach the end if you are writing a novel that starts to reach the 100 page mark. For short stories, novellas (50 page works), and one-shots, I can see your phrase of "Do not write something else" being correct. Does not always work in the novel coming from a slice of my experience.

2 years ago, I was very dedicated in writing my original novel. It was fun until I exhausted all my ideas. But last year, I get to work on another influential arc in my novel once again, and revise everything that I did that lasted 3-4 months (with college life being in the way). However, it then resulted me to have another writer's bock with a consideration of my review of my past work being just about complete. Heck, I sometimes say to myself that just about all of my main characters are fully grown with most supporting characters having their conflicts resolved. It's not much as to who needs more room to grow. In my case, it's the question, "Are there anymore conflicts that I can implement to my novel's main conflict that fits into my theme?"
Read, and also write comprehensive reviews. It gets my brain into the analytical mindset and thinking about stories, without being bogged down in whatever is holding me back in my own writing. If I'm reading, it presents the possibility of being potentially inspired by what I come across, or at the very least being presented with examples of what not to do.

The alcohol/caffeine route does not work, not by itself. I've only found chemical assistance to work after you've had your "Eureka!" breakthrough thought, and need some extra motivation to get into the meat of the writing work.
With an axe.

Seriously though, I'm more of a "train of thought" writer, and thus I work the best when I'm in a mood.

Whenever I run into a roadblock, I mentally brainstorm until I find a solution, or at least a path further on that is interesting to work towards.

As long as you know where you're working towards, you can use that as a baseline on which to build your story upon.
Oh Arceus, this monster of a topic. I'm with Shattersoul on this one, I can only really work well when I'm in the mood to write.

Which, unfortunately, isn't a whole lot.

It doesn't help that I work best when I'm tired, but when I'm tired, I'm generally on YouTube, so my productivity goes out the window.

Generally speaking, however, the one thing that helps me get my *** in gear, no matter my mental state, is a deadline. Arbitrary or official, a time limit applies just the right amount of pressure on you to get you motivated and moving. I tend to work best under the gun, so that definitely helps for me.

However, judging from these responses, and the variety of solutions everyone has mentioned, there's no right way to do it. For some people, it's exciting music. For others, it's caffeine. (I don't understand those people, as it just makes me need to pee, but to each their own, I guess.) Do what works best for you, don't just copy anyone else.