Monday, August 16, 2010

What to do when struggling for the next word

I'm sitting at the computer. The curser is flashing, waiting for me to begin typing. I start cursing at the curser because I have no clue what to write.

Does this happen to anyone else? Anybody?

I don't believe in writer's block. Ask any journalist and you'll learn that the story must get written. Whether they work for a daily, a weekly, or a monthly, there is no time to struggle with writers block. Deadlines must be met.

Fiction, however, can be a little more tricky. I do have some suggestions for those who are stumped.
  1. Take a break from writing. Sometimes a new perspective will help you figure out what needs to happen next. (Hey, this is when I get my Farmville fix!)
  2. Do some research. Since my novels mention real spots, I've been known to visit so that I can get a renewed "feel" for the location.
  3. Write a different scene. Stuck at an intersection and can't decide which way to turn? Write whatever happens next and come back to it later.
  4. Read something. This is very similar to the "take a break" suggestion. I firmly believe no one can be a good writer without being a veracious reader. So even though you're taking break from the writing, by reading a book, you're helping yourself become a better writer. (Might I recommend Ghost Mountain?)
  5. Draw a card. When all else fails, I've been known to ask my characters what they want to do next. Usually this involves drawing a tarot card and seeing what that tells me. It's not a suggestion that will work for everyone, but I've had success with it.
I'm sure there are a ton of other suggestions. For the authors out there, what works for you?