Hi everyone! April Camp NaNoWriMo is 1/3 over, which (hopefully!) means that you’re about 1/3 of the way through your project.
Structurally speaking, 1/3 of the way in is where the ‘beginning’ (first act) of your story ends, and the dreaded ‘middle’ begins (if you’d like to learn more about that, please read Plot Bones: How to Build a Skeleton to Write Your Story on).
If you’re like most writers, you know how your story starts, and maybe even how it ends, but you have almost no clue what happens in the interim. So there’s a good chance that you’re experiencing some pretty strong writer’s block right now.
What is Writer’s Block?
Writer’s block is the mental inability to get the words down on the page, either because you’re unable to see what happens next, or because you feel you’re unable to write well for whatever reason. You might write the same line over and over again, deleting it each time, thinking, this is sh**.
You might do that, but most people won’t. Most will give up after a few minutes. This is where writer’s block turns into writing procrastination – where you simply don’t write at all – and doing laundry suddenly seems so much more tempting, amirite?
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Below I’ve written 5 ways to get around writer’s block without letting it turn into procrastination, which is far more insidious than the block itself – because it means you don’t get any words on the page at all – even crappy ones.
1. Change Point of View.
Not getting anywhere writing about your main character (MC)? The problem might be that important plot points and action are happening elsewhere, away from your MC’s eyes. In this instance, it’s perfectly acceptable to switch to another character’s point of view (POV) to better show the action. It might even be preferable – nothing’s more boring than trying to relay important story information secondhand. Think Game of Thrones – George R.R. Martin doesn’t simply tell the story from Eddard Stark’s perspective, he switches his POV character to whoever has the most interesting story at that point in time.
You can also change your tense – for example, write in the first person rather than 3rd person. However, be aware that you will eventually have to go back and make your tenses consistent.
2. Change Your Font.
I’ve personally never tried this, but some writer’s swear that changing your font, text color, and text size tricks your brain into thinking you’re working on an entirely new project. It’s worth a try – what have you got to lose? It worked for this Pinterest Pinner.
It’s ok to write text that isn’t narrative. Meta-writing, or writing about your writing, can be a powerful weapon in slaying the writer’s block monster. Just start typing. Write about your writer’s block, why you feel the plot isn’t working for you. Write about your characters, but not in a narrative way. Write about your plans for the story. Often when I do this, I write for maybe a paragraph, then a solution to whatever plot problems caused the block in the first place suddenly comes to me.
4. Make Lists.
Making lists is so easy, right? Our mind is naturally attracted to the symmetry and order of lists.
Some possible writer’s block killing lists:
- 10 things that might happen next
- 10 things that absolutely could not happen next
- 10 things that are wrong with your story
- All your characters’ motivations
- Your characters’ fears
5. Skip Scenes.
This is a very powerful tool. Not sure what happens next, but you know where your hero needs to be two scenes from now? Write that scene! No one ever said that you have to write in chronological order. Not only that, but you might discover clues as to what happens in the scene your currently having trouble with while writing the later scene. It’s like magic.
Go forth, my pretties. Write, conquer those blocks, and raise those word counts. And tell me – how do you get around writer’s block?
If you’re looking for more information on writer’s block, please visit and follow my board, Beating Writer’s Block, on Pinterest.