Why Writer’s Block is Absolute Bull and How to Get Around It: A Non-Tutorial

Writer’s block. Every single writer is familiar with that dreaded phrase. Well, I’d like to think so, but perhaps there are some who aren’t. It’s that unfortunate feeling when you’re writing, and suddenly, you have no idea how to move forward. You feel like you’re running, having a grand-old time, but there’s a gigantic brick wall right in the middle of the road with barbwire along the top and it’s surrounded by water on both sides, so you don’t know how to get around it. It feels like you’ll need a wrecking ball to tear the wall down if you ever want to get past it. But here’s the thing—writer’s block isn’t real. It’s a figment of your imagination, or rather, a temporary pause in your imagination.

Allow me to explain why I’m making such a bold claim. What we call “writer’s block” is more commonly associated with a lack of motivation rather than a lack of ideas. When you feel too tired or drained, perhaps from a hard day of work or school and you attempt to write, you can sometimes feel like you have nowhere to go with the story. Here’s the thing—that wall you ran into has practically no foundation. You’re already exhausted from doing an obstacle course, so trying to jog is probably not the best. You’re not at full strength, so once you encounter that wall, you don’t have the strength to knock it down. In other words, you’re already burnt out from working or going to school. When you try to write, you’re not at full strength. You’re already worn out. So what do you do? If you’ve been reading these blog entries, you know exactly what to do: take a break.

I understand if you wouldn’t want to, but you deserve it. You’ve already worked hard. A break will be good for you. Spend time with family or friends, have some good food, go for a walk, play a video game, read or watch something, and go to sleep early. You deserve the rest! Take care of yourself; you’re worth it. One you wake up, plan a strategy. How will you knock that wall down? Will you remove it brick-by-brick, or go full force and knock it down with just your body weight alone? Will you write paragraph by paragraph, or go full force and write entire chapters in one sitting? The choice is yours.

But what if you really don’t know how to progress your project? What do you do then? As this is a Non-Tutorial, I can’t tell you what to do, but here’s my philosophy on it. There are endless paths your story can take. When you’ve come to a part in your project where you feel stumped, this is where you’ll need to apply a strategic approach to bring that wall down. What I’ll do is I think of every single possibility that can happen after that very point in the story. Even if some of the scenarios seem farfetched, I think of them, and when I decide upon one, I go with it. Allow your decision to affect the flow of the book, even if it doesn’t go in the direction you planned.

In the book I’m writing now, Black Crystal – The Essence, I applied this strategy. I actually deleted about 40 pages worth of stuff since I didn’t like or know where the story was going, and I decided to go down a new path, one that surprised me. Next thing I know, I have almost 100 extra pages worth of the story written in only a matter of weeks. The direction I took requires me to stay on my toes since it takes a lot of attention to detail, so I always make sure I’m well-rested and well-reviewed on the situation in the book before I keep going.

The lesson in this Non-Tutorial is the same lesson I wanted you guys to understand in my brief Take a Break entry—just take a damn break, guys. You deserve it. Take care of yourself, and you’ll find that writing comes much easier when you’re ready for it.

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