RTW: Overcoming Writer’s Block


Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where the ladies at YA Highway post a weekly writing- or reading-related question for participants to respond to on their own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

Today’s Topic: How do you beat writer’s block?

Oh, there are many ways…

1. I eat. Sometimes healthfully. Sometimes not. Often Bottle Caps, my drug candy of choice. 

2. I read. Books on craft. Young adult fiction. Entertainment Weekly. Whatever.

3. I exercise. Run, walk, bike, yoga–anything weather appropriate.

4. I hang with my daughter. We color. We play Princess. We make beaded necklaces. Anything creative and fun.

5. I brainstorm with my husband. His ideas are almost always random and unusable, but he’s an amazing sounding board. Very supportive.

6. I write drivel. I type out sweeping descriptions of the setting. I fill in backstory. I let my characters have meaningless conversations. Sometimes they just make-out. This stuff almost always gets the cut, but it often helps to get good words flowing.

7. And, perhaps most helpfully, I plot. Or replot. Because when I’m blocked, it’s usually because I’ve taken a wrong turn. I’ve written something wrong earlier on, and that something needs to be identified and corrected.

And those, my friends, are my magical cures for writer’s block. I’m curious…how do you beat writer’s block?

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33 thoughts on “RTW: Overcoming Writer’s Block

  1. Crystal Schubert says:

    I do a lot of plotting, too–which I love to say, because ‘plotting’ sounds so sinister. I think a lot of times blocks do stem from a wrong turn earlier in the story somewhere, and plotting helps to figure it out.

  2. Rebecca B says:

    Great tips! I brainstorm with my fiance, too. He’s an actor/playwright so he can be incredibly helpful with character development. Also, he’s good at telling me when my dialogue is “meh.”
    I also depend on #1. 🙂

  3. Erin L. Schneider says:

    Definitely #2 – reading something else, always helps! I picked NaNo – because that’s really what helped kick my muse into action last year…and I soooooo needed it! Who knew a little competition was the trick for me?

    Great post, Katy!

    • katyupperman says:

      I like to do friendly writing races too. Some of my CPs and I did a writing bootcamp last June and I wrote an entire first draft… It was fun AND productive!

  4. sarah says:

    I love your rainbow approach! I do a lot of those things too (exercise, re-plot, eat something possibly good for you) and they do help! Now to find someone who will play princess with me… 😉

  5. lindy says:

    My strategy is far more rudimentary. I keep the story running in my head even when I’m away from the keyboard, constantly asking myself–“what if”. Like “What if Jack and Jill filled that bucked with marshmallows and lemon-drops and took off into the forest, avoiding the hill altogether. Maybe they meet the big bad wolf. No wait, there’s a dragon who has an affinity for sweets and they strike a deal to keep their lives.” Okay, that’s just silly, but you get the idea.

    Great mental block busters!

  6. Kirsten Lopresti says:

    The thing that works for me is to take a break and do something, anything else. Sometimes, If I let my subconscious mind work on a problem for awhile, it will solve whatever trouble I’m having with the manuscript. If not, it usually means I’m in a real jam.

  7. Carrie says:

    These are such great ideas. Writing and exercise are always good. I like that your family is also involved in your cures for writers block.

  8. Alison Miller says:

    Awesome tips, Katy. Even though I focused on exercise, I do find brainstorming with the hubs or a writing friend helpful in those tough plot spots. And I definitely get reinspired when I read. Sometimes just being around my teens helps me get over the creative hump.

  9. David Powers King says:

    Hello, fellow campaigner! I’m not in your group, but I still wanted to take a look at your blog. Awesome place you have here!

    I’m a brainstormer. When I hit a block, it means the story is going in the wrong direction for me. I sit and think it out until the story goes in the right direction again.

    • katyupperman says:

      Glad you stopped by, David!

      Brainstorming is usually my most effective fix too, but often the last thing I try. Wonder why that is? Maybe someday I’ll learn. 🙂

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