I read something the other day which made me laugh. Bad writers never get writers’ block! I think there’s something to that. I suppose if you believe everything you write is great, you’ll never get stumped by making your plot work, or defining your characters just right, or worrying that your story makes sense.
For those of us who do getting blocked, how do we get UN-blocked? I’m sure there are a lot of suggestions and many of you have ideas to offer, and please, feel free to do so. But, until I hear from you, I’m listing a few things that help me.
My blockage doesn’t stem from being unable to write anything. It comes from trying to make what I have written work. Another words, I become unsure of whom the bad guy should be. OR how I want the body to be found. OR the logic of why the victim would be killed in the first place. Or how to start the chapter.
As you can see, it’s the mystery part of my humorous, romance, mysteries giving me the most trouble. The humor comes fairly easy. The romance…well, as long as it’s a little steamy, I can get by with it. Of course, I have to make it funny. That’s just what I do. But the mystery deals me misery.
So, when I’m struggling…which is most of the time, here are a few things I do to get my brain to going again. These are in no particular order.
Watch movies. Especially mystery movies. After all, movies are visual stories and you never know when watching one will send you in a direction you hadn’t thought of.
Write out-of-order. After I’ve fretted over my problem for a while, I sometimes decide to move forward and write a chapter I have planned for later in the book. Most of the time, it will be a funny scene I’ve planned on using, and believe it or not, while I’m writing the chapter, sometimes I get ideas for the problem chapter.
Brainstorm with a writer friend. I would suggest a family member, but from experience, I don’t get the best feedback from my family! Email a fellow writer the problem chapter and have them offer critique. Many times they’ll pick up on something that’s right in front of me, but I’ve had such tunnel vision, I can’t see it.
Pull out the instruction books. Like every writer, I have a ton of “how to” books, so I get them all out and read about the craft of writing. Again, once in a while, a spark will happen and I can move forward.
Read random passages. This is my favorite tip. I especially do this when I’m trying to start a chapter. If I can ever get that perfect first line, regardless if it’s chapter one or thirty-one, then I can go with it. So, I pull out novels I’ve read and flip through, stop at random pages and read the first line. I can’t tell you how many times this has worked for me.
Here’s an example. One of the random lines I read had something to do with a dog’s tail thumping the floor as his owner answered the door. From that, I got…By now, all over town, tongues were wagging. I’m not saying that’s a great line. I’m just saying it was enough to get me going again.
So, that’s my top five ways I cure my writers’ block. What’s yours?

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