Toolbox Tuesday: Writer's Block

*Adapted from when I guest posted on my friend's blog a few years ago.

-Title trouble: Where you want to name your project, but you just don’t know how!

Tip #1:
Try not to use a character’s name in the title. Part of the fun in opening up a book is figuring out the main character’s name! What’s the fun in that if you give it straight up? (This is not to say that it's wrong to use the main character's name in a title once in a while, but it's best to not have it in the title every time. If the character's name is going to go into the title, at least make sure the name doesn't stand alone, so it will stand out from other characters with the same name.) For example, I have a project titled Dear Eric. It tells the reader Eric is a character (actually not the main character), but not much else. That may spark some people's interest, or it may not. (I feel like the project could have a better title, but seeing as I haven't come up with one, it'll stay as it is for now.)

Tip #2:
If you don’t have a title in mind and you think you absolutely have to have one, guess what? You don’t. Keep writing. A title might restrict your writing to narrow-mindedly follow certain ideas. Write as much as you can before naming a project, or just give it a temporary one. Sometimes, you may like it enough to make it your actual one.

-General writer’s block trouble: Where you need to finish the story, but you don’t know how to.

Tip #1:
Read everything you’ve written so far. Thoroughly read it and refresh yourself of what has already been established. Move forward from there.

Tip #2:
If that doesn’t work, maybe one of your characters is causing a problem because you don’t know enough about him/her yet. Fill out a character chart for him/her. There are lots of them out there! Force yourself to fill out every single blank. Don’t hesitate. If you don’t know the answer, make one up. If you really have to, change it later. But if you can, fill the chart out and stick to it.

Tip #3:
This is actually the best one. Get in the shower. Forget everything else. Just take a nice, hot, long shower. Showers are the best places to come up with ideas. Usually, this is a great way to figure out how to continue with rising action, climax, and falling action business. If anything, it gives you a break and allows you time to think and release some stress, so it won’t harm you in any way to try this.

Tip #4:
Sometimes what you really need to cure writer’s block is a break from that particular project. Maybe not from writing itself, but sometimes it’s best to leave a story alone for a while. It could be a day, a week, a month, or even six months. It all depends on the story itself. Trust yourself to finish it eventually. Leave it somewhere where you’ll still see it once in a while, but don’t touch it. You might be surprised what you go through during that time and subconscious ideas that may come to you.

Tip #5:
Save this for last resort. If you really have absolutely no clue whatsoever as to what to do, find someone you trust and ask him/her to read everything you have so far and give you their opinion on what you should do next. Then find several other people and do the same. Maybe they’ll suggest something you like, maybe they won’t. But if they don’t suggest something you like, this might be a good time to figure out where you really want to go and to go with it.

In all honesty, no one can tell you how to write your story. Everyone has their own ways to overcome writer’s block. These are just little things you can do instead of throwing everything in the trash can like every writer wants to sometimes. Save everything, even the junk. You may get to use it someday!

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