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Entice Inspiration: So You’ve Hit a Block? – Grace Menary-Winefield, Piatkus Editorial Assistant

So you’ve hit a block? What does that even MEAN?

Well, in my personal experience it generally includes one or more of the following:

  • Staring at a blank page for ten minutes until realising the puddle of drool accumulating on the table is dangerously close to running on to the floor
  • Hating the characters, hating the story, hating everything about writing and do you think I could hurl this laptop across the room without breaking the valuable china vase by the window?!
  • GETTING EVERYTHING DONE! Look! I cleaned the kitchen, I swept the floor, I did my taxes, I caught up on Breaking Bad, I did – oh, my writing? Oh, well, about that . . .
  • Wanting to cry. Hard. Into my pillow.

None of the above were necessarily positive moments in my life, but all are normal. Every writer experiences a block at some point or another. And every writer deals with it differently! Below are some suggestions taken from my experience and the stories of Editors around me.

  • Take a walk. Ok, FINE, that is a bit cliché but being in the same room can be stifling and boring. Or better yet, take your laptop/notepad and move into a park, a café or a friend’s house. Home is distracting (there is always so much to do) and the inspiration you might have found with the familiar used up (for example, my cat is just BORING now. BORING).
  • Some push through it, write a bunch of ‘blah’ only to throw it away the next day. This works for some, because in amongst the gobblety-gook could be a gem of an idea. Or a character. Or simply a phrase or one-liner that sparks something much bigger. Just free-write. Don’t stop. Well, eventually stop, but give yourself a chance to let go.
  • READ something else. Some might say this is dangerous, but I find it relaxing to concentrate on someone else’s choices rather than mine. Instead of wishing I had taken that line, I might look at a character I love and ask, ‘What do I love about them? Their confidence? Their comedy?’ Others are inspiring and if you think everything has been done before, you are wrong.
  • Put it down. Just . . . put down your writing. Take a break. Say, ‘You know what, I’ll pick this back up again at the same time tomorrow.’ Sometimes all you need is some space to not think about it for a while.
  • Skip ahead in the story! Don’t know what happens next but  have an idea for a particularly good scene much later on? Write that. You don’t need to write everything in order and while the journey totally matters, everyone’s is different.

Good luck! Don’t give up!