The dreaded writer’s block. It happens to many writers. And I’m one of them. I've researched and experimented with different ways of working around or through or over the wall that seems to spring up squarely in my path that blocks my writing. Here are some of my methods:
1. Take a break. Sometimes you need to walk away from your story. Not forever. Just a small break. Take a relaxing walk. Go for a long scenic drive. Or my favorite: take a nice hot shower. Even washing dishes or folding laundry can give your brain that little bit of rest it needs to get back to work. Just don't stay away from your story for too long, otherwise you'll have a sparkling clean house, but no words for your story. (Yes, I've done this.)
2. Read. Isn't reading what started your love of writing in the first place? Read a novel by one of your favorite authors. Or read a nonfiction book that's connected to your story for inspiration. One of my favorite methods is reading monthly book review magazines. All those brand new books being released makes me want to see one of my books listed there, too. Usually, that'll get my brain back in writing-mode. Pure determination to succeed!
3. Change up your writing process. If you're a panster, try plotting. If you plot the dickens out of your story, try tossing your plans out the window and write by the seat of your pants. Or maybe you need a different method for plotting. Google 'how to plot a novel' and you'll find several methods you can try. Sometimes you just need to change things around to keep moving forward.
4. Change where you write. If you have an office or a space in your house dedicated to writing, try going out to write. I know writing in a coffee shop seems to be the popular choice, but it’s not the only place to go. Your local library is sure to have plenty of room where you can spend the afternoon surrounded by other book lover's. Or you could try writing outside on your back patio or maybe a short drive to the nearest park. Find a bench. Listen to nature. And lose yourself in your story.
5. Listen to music. Daydream your way out of a block with some music. Put on your earphones, relax on a comfy sofa and close your eyes while you listen to the music of your choice. I enjoy listening to movie soundtracks. Then I daydream about my story. Once I have the images in my mind, it makes writing them down so much easier. Even songs with lyrics can inspire me to take my novel in a new direction. And despite what others in your household might think, no, you're not sleeping. You're working. My husband still doesn't believe me, but honestly, I’m not sleeping.
6. And sometimes you just need to write through it. Ugh! I know. It's not the advice you want to hear. I don't either. I wish there was a magical method to tear down that wall that keeps blocking you. But when it comes down to it, writing is a great way to get on the other side of whatever is holding you back. Okay, maybe you don't need to actually write the story that you're stuck on. Try free-writing. Write your thoughts in a journal. Write a grocery list. Or write a list of things that might have built that wall you're trying to get around. Sometimes I get stuck on a story because I just don't know what's going to happen next. (Yes, I have panster tendencies.) To work through that, I'll make a list of possible scenarios that might occur in my story. Mind mapping is a great method for this type of block. Sometimes it's just the act of writing itself that gets those ideas flowing again.
Whatever method you try, just remember that you're not alone. Many of us have had to cope with writer's block at one time or another. Even on those days when you feel that you'll never write another word again just remember that it’s temporary. You'll break through that wall and find your words.
Title: The Witch’s Thief
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Date Published: October 2013
Genre: Regency Paranormal Romance
Word Count: 47,000
To save her sister’s life, Julia Grey seeks a spell hidden somewhere within Merriweather Manor. Her position as a lady's companion affords her the freedom to search the house. But time is running out. The necromancer she's bargained with is growing impatient. And an unexpected appearance of a man from her past makes matters worse in an already complicated situation.
Basil Merriweather returns to England after ten years abroad to discover his childhood sweetheart living in his home. But, he's no longer the carefree man of his youth and she's hiding something--deadly secrets Basil vows to uncover even as he hides a dark secret of his own.
While neither Basil nor Julia will trust in the other, their hearts speak a truer language. In a grand attempt to save Julia's sister and Basil's life, the two must finally confess sinister truths. Will their admissions help or hinder any future they may have together? Or will the necromancer destroy all in a vile attempt at revenge.
“What are you doing?”
He ignored her frantic questioning. Instead, he blocked out the sound of her voice and raised his arms into the air at his sides, his fingers splayed out as he extended his senses to scan the area. His power eased out, like extensions of his fingertips, stretching into the corners of the room, seeking, searching for the source of the magic he sensed.
It was here. Somewhere.
He had sensed it earlier on his arrival, but being that his aunt and siblings practiced magic on a regular basis he’d never given it a second thought.
This room, however, stank with it. He smelled the odor, something strangely like sulfur...
“A spell has been cast in this room,” he muttered. A strange spell. Odd. A spell he’d never sensed before, something new. It felt off in some way he couldn’t explain. Who would be working new magic of this kind in his home? And, in this room in particular. Aunt Petunia worked her spells in the privacy of her rooms upstairs, or sometimes in the gardens, but never in this room. And his siblings each practiced in their own private settings, places where they could concentrate without the threat of being disturbed.
He took a step closer to the center of the room where he sensed a surge of power. He shivered as coldness seeped into his skin. It wrapped around his arm, sinking into his flesh, right down to the bone.
The magic in his house was always full of warmth and gentleness. Goodness and love. This magic chilled him to the bone. His heart skipped a beat. There was fear, terror, pain.
This spell was full of darkness.
Tricia Schneider is an author of paranormal and gothic romance. Before the supernatural took possession of her pen, she worked for several years in a Waldenbooks store as Assistant Manager and bookseller. Since the closing of the store, she now writes full-time while raising her 3 young children. She lives with her musician husband and 2 neurotic cats in the coal country of Pennsylvania.