Writing Question: How do you break out of a writer’s block?

July 18th, 2011 by

Blocked. Stuck. Slump. However you typify, you know what I mean: The creativity just ain’t flowing. And neither are the words.

What do you do? How do you bust of that negative place?

This week each day at noon EDT / 9AM PDT, I’ll be asking a writer’s question. I do that from time to time so members of the GITS community can share their insights about the craft. We can all learn from each other. Let’s hear what you have to say.

8 thoughts on “Writing Question: How do you break out of a writer’s block?

  1. Steve Trautmann says:

    I have several strategies:
    – Take a shower
    – Write a scene further into the story
    – Go for a walk
    – Work on another story idea
    – Sip good Scotch and Peruse the outline
    – Take a drive past a studio or two
    – Brainstorm new story ideas
    – go to the movies

  2. The Z says:

    I don't know if I've gotten writer's block — I just keep writing. If one story/script isn't working, I go to the next one and see what happens there. I've always got two or three projects cooking at once, so there's usually something that'll get me excited.

  3. HEROES_are_BORING says:

    I have a few strategies, but my favorite one is to pick up the ol' legal pad and write whatever scene I'm on from the very beginning. I forget scene structure or how long I'm aiming for the scene to be and just let the characters do their thing. Talk and talk and talk. Usually, by the end, I get to the heart of what I intended, and I edit for a tightened version of what I was originally going for (but couldn't initially get at).

  4. Nick West says:

    You just write. You can always type a letter, that becomes a word, that becomes a sentence. Even if it's shit, push through it.

    Writing is 10 percent sex and 90 percent mopping the floor. Sometimes it flows awesome. The rest of the time, it is work.

  5. The Unknown Lyricist says:

    What everybody else said… Some other stuff I do…

    –Use reverse psychology. "There's no way you can write this scene…" And then go write that scene as best as you can. We all have those doubts… sometimes you need to use those doubts against themselves.

    –Write a deleted scene. Got this from John August. Just have your characters talk about something NOT in the script… often it leads you back to the script.

    –Write your favorite profanity over and over again until finally other words start filtering in.

    –Just type randomly (similar to the profanity one). Fill up the screen with consonants and nonsense. It feels pretty good and then after awhile real words start coming to you.

    –As Nick said, write crap if you have to. Most times, you need a lot of fertilizer to bring forth a great script.

    Remember, you can't edit a blank page.

  6. Courtney says:

    Have a cocktail… then move on to the next story.

    It will come to you.

    To simplify —

    It's a bit like trying to remember a name.

    You kill yourself and can't place a name with that one particular guy that peed on the bushes then ran around naked at the party last weekend.

    You move on then –

    BAM!

    It hits you. Maybe in the shower… maybe on the toilet… at work… in the car… on a date…

    Wherever.

    It WILL pop in your head and you can't let it go until…

    It's on the page.

  7. Foley says:

    The only time I find myself really blocked is when I'm miserable, and even that won't stop me when I've got an externally set deadline to hit.

    I've no interest whatsoever in suffering for my art, but I'm also terribly unhappy when I'm not creating something, be it a screenplay, comic script, or a painting. If more traditional "power through it" techniques don't get the job done, it's time to visit the psychiatrist and get my meds adjusted.

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