Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Many writers struggle with what they call writer’s block. I call it road block. I don’t tend to have writer’s block. There’s a reason why. The main reason is, as an engineer we are trained to look past the problem, troubleshoot it and move on.

When I’ve spoken to other writers that say they are having a tough time finishing their book because they’ve reached a roadblock, I can usually say – they didn’t do an outline. Everyone has a different method of writing. Why? Well because we are all different. We require different stimulus in order to be creative. However, there are writer’s that write stuff that they hate – yet they finish it. How do they do it?

OUTLINING through it.

Outlining a novel is a sure fire way to actually completing it. The outline is quick and dirty. My outlines are real basic, just a chapter outline. Then I just jot down the major things that have to happen in that chapter. Now I will admit that I go rogue on my outline. When that happens I rework it – even though I just want to write. I also give myself a time limit for reworking outlines.

WRITE through it.

The other method I use is, I just write through it. Yeah, what I write I know sucks – but remember – it’s only a first draft. I will change it, but by writing through it, I can finish my manuscript.

ASK for help.

If you’re at a part in your manuscript that you just don’t know how to set it up. Ask for help. Research online, post a question in your forums, or ask your beta readers or friends. I’ve been able to work through tons of rough spots by just asking someone what they would do.

WORK while on an active break.

Set a time for your break. I use these times to take a class. Work with a critique group. I personally don’t take more than a week if I’m not doing the above. During that time, I may beta read someone else’s stuff. Edit my other works. Research the issue. Read a good book.

Writer’s block isn’t a block. It’s when you’ve come to a point in your manuscript that you don’t know how to play something out. Writing through it works best because you will edit the thing anyway. Remember, you are not tied to your draft copy. The first draft in all cases is never the final. Well written material is usually changed over twenty or so times before it even gets to the point where it’s ready to sell.


Tahereh said...

great post -- thanks for sharing :)

i'm actually not much of an outliner myself, but i know so many people who do, and it always seems to help. it's so much fun to see how different authors do things :D

Book Monster said...

I totally understand this!!

V. Roth said...

For me, outlining tends to destroy my ability to be creative-- because unlike you, I can't go rogue on the outline! (So jealous of that ability.) But I am totally with you on the asking for help thing. Brainstorming with someone else can be really great. It's like I get so stuck in my usual way of thinking that I write myself into corners sometimes, and only other people can help me get out of them!