What do you write when you don’t know what to write? You can know what your story is about, but you aren’t able to put words on paper. Why? This article will seek to answer this question and give you ways to find your words again.
You’re sitting at your computer, and your typing away. The words are flowing and your mind is driven. You get to the end of the scene/chapter and you feel a sense of exhilaration because you’ve accomplished something. You’ve made progress. You’re in that writer’s zone. Eager to move on with the next scene/chapter, you move to the next screen and type the scene/chapter number, hit enter and stop. Your brain says, ‘huh’? So you sit there thinking about what you should write next. You can’t think of anything. Ideas may come but you push them aside because you feel they aren’t good enough, or perfect enough. This is the left side of your brain getting in the way of progress. Don’t let it do that. Forge ahead. Write anyway even if it isn’t perfect.
Reasons For the Block and How to Get Passed Them
- As mentioned above, the left side of your brain, the analytical side, gets in the way. It can be difficult to shut this part of your head down, but you need to do it. This has happened to me on a number of occasions. What I did was write anyway, even if what I wrote wasn’t any good. Later you can go back and change it, and who knows, this may spur on more and better ideas. Brainstorming also works, and sometimes you just need to work on the development of the story itself. I keep a binder with tabbed sections for various literary items, such as Character, Setting, World Building, Brainstorming, just to name a few. Writing in your binder, or whatever you keep, can create ideas as well. Read the following book by Henriette Anne Klauser called Writing on Both Sides of the Brain: Breakthrough Techniques for People Who Write. This book helped me tremendously. See link below.
- Indecision. Maybe you have 2 or 3 or more possible ideas regarding what should come next, but you don’t know which one to choose. This is a great time to stop writing and start evaluating. Yes, I said it. You’ll have to use the left side of your brain here. Write each idea down on a note card and place them in front of you. Think about what you’ve written thus far and decide which idea will move your story forward to where you want it to go. Does this mean you have to scrap the other ideas you don’t use? No, not at all. Save them for later.
- You finished your thought process. This is huge. Another author told me she doesn’t ever get writer’s block. When I asked her why, she said she doesn’t stop writing at the end of a scene/chapter. She stops writing for the day in the middle of a scene where it is easy to pick up on the movement of the story the next day. So she doesn’t allow her thought process for the story to stop when she stops. I hope this makes sense. There is just one problem with this though. You will come to the end of that scene/chapter eventually, which means you might get hit with reasons 1 and 2 above.
- Ordering of story information. Stories are written with the three act structure in mind. Act I: Backstory, Act II: The Chase/The Attach, Act III: Resolution. Certain types of information belong ONLY in their perspective acts. Put the wrong type of information into the wrong act, and your story will be thrown way off. The result of this can lead to writer’s block. How do you combat this? There is a book I HIGHLY recommend. See below. I’ve provided the link in case you are interested in purchasing.
In the end your story will work out. It’s not the road you travel, it’s how you travel along that road that matters. You’ll get there.