Writer’s block is a writer’s best friend

Today I’m going to talk about writer’s block.   For me it’s like the honesty of a friend telling you something you don’t want to hear.  You can always depend on your friends to tell you when you screwed up.  Right?  Writer’s block is like that for me.  I know some of you are probably thinking, “Huh?” Others are thinking I must be a glutton for punishment.

Any writer can tell you that writer’s block is not fun. Actually it’s about as far from fun as it gets. But for me writer’s block doesn’t mean I’ve run out of ideas, it means I’ve run down the wrong road. Writer’s block is my muse’s way of telling me, “The bridge is out! Go back, stupid!”

Forced plotting and putting words into your characters mouths is (at least for me) the surest way to contract a nasty case of writer’s block. Listen to your characters. If what’s coming out of their mouths sounds forced or out of character — watch out, you’re about to step into a whole mess of trouble.

Bugs Bunny knew what he was talking about when he said, “I knew I should have taken that left turn at Albuquerque.”

When I get writer’s block, that means I didn’t take that left turn. It means I didn’t see the signs; or if I did, I ignored them. It means I didn’t listen to my characters. But most of all (and worst of all) it means my muse isn’t going to let me go one word further until I find out where and how I took that wrong turn (aka screwed up), and go back and fix it.

So sit back, be quiet, and listen to your characters. Most times they know the story better than you do.

7 Responses to “Writer’s block is a writer’s best friend”

  1. 1 Terri-Lynne
    January 26, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    Same here. Whenever I find myself staring at the screen saying, “Where the hell do I go now?” I know it means to back up and take a new path, whether it’s a different POV or another scenario.

  2. January 26, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    Exactly, Terri. It also tells me it’s time to turn off my computer (technology can get intimidating when I’m stuck), and go with old-fashioned writing with pen & paper.


  3. January 26, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    I agree with you, too. Writer’s block, like anger or pain, is trying to get your attention. Besides plot or POV, it could be you need more research to understand what you are writing about, or you are writing to the wrong length in an effort to place a story in a certain market.

    Sometimes what I think is writers block only turns out to be exhaustion. I may not be avoiding my writing because I’m blocked, but because I just can’t keep my eyes open anymore! I have to struggle sometimes to remember my throbbing brain is resident inside a living body that needs food, water and sleep to function.

    Thanks for this post — I needed to read it today!


  4. January 28, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    oh my gosh! this is exactly what happens to me, too!!!!!!!

  5. June 17, 2010 at 6:16 am

    I think everyone gets blocked at some point… the thing is to toss and turn until you find the answer… if not the poor characters will be doing the same thing again and again ,-)))

    It’s taken me a few blocks to actually get it ready, so do you think it’s worth reading???




  6. August 9, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    Writer’s block then occurs while a writer is mid-project and does not apply to that interim when a writer struggles to identify and grab hold of a new project. I have much to learn. Thank you for sharing.

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