Of Corners and Writing out of them

Writer’s Block. We’ve all dealt with it at one point or another, much to our chagrin. It has hobbled us and even crippled us. But it’s only a block if we allow it to be. Instead, think of it as a corner that you’ve written yourself into. Corners can be gotten out of, but they will require a bit of backtracking. Kinda like hitting a dead-end in a maze.

When I find myself to be stuck, I try a number of things to get back on track. I’ll change the medium that I’m writing with. If I’m typing on the computer, I’ll switch to pen and paper, and vice versa.

I’ve opened a new document and started from where I remember leaving off. That works really well if you have a paragraph or two that you’re hard up to want to keep, but trying to work it in is causing serious trouble. When it’s out of sight, it’s therefore out of mind and not in your way. If it’s meant to be there, you will find a way to work it in, and if not, you would have ironed out a significant wrinkle.

Changing Point of View to another character can also do wonders. The last chapter of Lady Fury was causing serious hang-ups until I changed the POV. It still did not roll as smooth as I would have liked, but it did move forward.

I have also axed scenes and pages simply because I didn’t have much choice. The details had become too muddled to continue down the path that I was going, and would have required a Deux Ex Machina move to clear. Or I would have had to compromise established tenants of a character, a personal no-no.

Step back for a while. Taking a shower, doing the dishes. (For some reason, running water just REALLY helps jump-start my creativity if I need help.) I’ll read something in a totally different genre of what I’m writing for a change of pace. There is also journaling – writing down whatever real-life stress I’m experiencing in order to get it out of my head.

Sleeping on the idea is also good. I’ve gone to bed early for the express purpose of letting my subconscious mull it over, and then jotting down relevant notes from my dreams the next morning. Seems silly, but oddly effective! 😛

And, as always, there is the option to shelve an idea and work on something else until you feel the urge to pick it up again. But I don’t recommend that. You only wind up with stacks of unfinished manuscripts. And then when you do pick a story back up, you have lost all sense of momentum and feel for where it was going and have to backtrack anyway!

So what about you? What ways do you employ to write yourself out of a corner?


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