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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Tackling Writers Block

It happened. As predicted. Week two of NaNoWriMo generates writers’ block. As a NaNo novice, I was warned. I had hoped (as I was continuing with an existing manuscript and therefore already passed the middle of my story) that I might avoid the abandonment of my muse. I was wrong.

Fortunately (?), this coincided with being laid out flat with back issues and pain. I had a lot of time to ruminate on the problem. So there is my excuse for days 7-9 when my word count update was non-existant.

By Sunday, I could move without screaming. Without major painkillers, the brain fog lifted and I could begin to concentrate again. It was time to put some block busters to the test. Here are some tactics I have tried:

  • Avoid the internet as much as possible (It is hard to only stick to research)
  • start handwriting (as opposed to typing on a keyboard). This accesses a different part of the brain. (I return to typing when I need logic to kick in – like when editing)
  • ‘freewrite’. Write anything. Everything. See what happens. (In a way, this is the purpose of NaNo. But I still stop to think about things – way too much. Hence the slow word count.)
  • play music to put me in the mood. If I can get into the write head space (not a misspelling), the words are more likley to flow. I have been known to listen to The Cog is Dead, and Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds (with Richard Burton) on occasion.
  • Occasionally I even watch a genre-related movie or TV show (I do steampunk so it is usually something Victorian). I let my mind wander through the streets, absorb the atmosphere, then nudge that stubborn muse.
  • Finish the scene or chapter, then write down the first sentence of the next scene. Sometimes I write a few sentences, or quick summary on where I think the next scene will go. When I go back the next day, it gives me a boost. Sometimes I decide to go in a different direction but the spark is still there. I am not starting cold.  (I have been using this one a lot during NaNoWriMo).

Do you have any tips for beating writers’ block? Feel free to leave a comment below.

NaNoWriMo word count. Day 13:
Total Words- first draft:    Day 15 updated: 14,588/50,000

The Department of Curiosities – Manuscript Word Progress: (72.24% first draft)
At 1st draft only: Day 15 updated: 41,875
Revised Words:  Day 15 updated: 23,600
Total Words:   Day 15 updated: 62,475

Tackling Writers Block

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