My Writing Process: It’s okay, I’m not crazy. I’m a writer.

Yep, that's me.
Yep, that’s me.

Fun title I know. This is a Virtual Writing Seminar on Writer’s Block. I’ve spoken before about how I don’t think Writer’s Block exists. I think that we, as writers, are inherently lazy and want to be entertained, so we procrastinate and don’t write. And that’s still true. But there’s another kind of “block” that happens when we can’t figure out where to go next in the story. I call this “Story Stalled.” It happens to everyone and is frustrating to everyone, but there are some ways I’ve figured out that help me get past it. I’ll share them in the hopes they work for you.

First I should define “Story Stalled.” If you wonder why you haven’t been writing anything lately, get up off the couch and sit at the computer. You’re not stalled, you’re lazy. It’s okay, it happens to me too. Like right now, you’re reading a blog post. Chances are that means you managed to get off the couch and come to your computer to write, but for some reason you clicked the web browser instead. STOP IT. Close the browser and WRITE SOMETHING.

Just write. Power through. It might all be crap, but that’s what editing is for. If all those dozens of pages accomplish is to get you back on track and they’re all cut later, that’s still a wonderful accomplishment.

Now, here’s where Stalling comes in. If you feel like you’ve been doing that for too long and haven’t gotten past it yet to the good stuff. Usually I wouldn’t consider it stalled until it hits the twenty page mark. But if you’re there, this post is for you.

Over the years I’ve developed so many ways of dealing with this subconsciously that it honestly doesn’t happen anymore. The fixes become habitual. So I’m going to try my best to peel back the layers of my psyche and come up with a few solutions.

Role Playing

No, not the game. And definitely not with others. No matter what the hardcore gamers say, I’ll never believe that you can get that kind of divine spark from role playing games.

No I’m talking about you, yourself. Your imagination. Take on one of your characters and play out the scene you’re having trouble with. This act of play unlocks something in my brain that lets the story unfold itself in the narrative I’m playing out. Then it’s just a matter of remembering it long enough to get to a computer.

I like doing this in three places: in front of the mirror, walking alone, and driving alone. It’s also where the title of the article comes from: more than once I’ve been walking alone and passed someone, only to realize after that I was talking aloud. They must have thought I was crazy!

This also functions as a good way of getting to know your characters. Getting their voice down so that you can accurately translate it onto the page.

Brainstorm about your Topic

Have a pen handy. Jot down different things in relation to your subject. Don’t be afraid to get crazy. It’ll open up new avenues and thought processes that weren’t there before.

It’s all about getting your brain moving again. Sometimes all it needs is a little push, and this is the way to do that.

I honestly don’t use this one much. I find it often doesn’t work for me, but other authors swear by it. So it’s worth a try if you’re stalled to see if it works for you.

Sit in on a Class

This is a big one for me. Sit in on a big lecture class at your local university. Just listening to a passionate person talk about their field can open up thoughts you never would have had otherwise. Sometimes they’re directly related to what you’re listening to, other times not. The point is to get those creative avenues flowing and get new ideas into your head.

I’ll upload more as I think of them.

So hopefully one of these would have helped.

Too bad you closed the browser when I told you to way up at the top… Right? 😉

Never Look Back
Matthew LeDrew

2 thoughts on “My Writing Process: It’s okay, I’m not crazy. I’m a writer.”

  1. I’m curious why you would discount the notion that a person could never find inspiration playing a game — one that involves imagination and story-spinning — and then admit mirror-gazing works for you.


  2. My comment may come across as critical but I am legitimately curious. I believe inspiration can come from anywhere so what makes one avenue impossible and another acceptable?

    Could you go into a bit more detail in your methods? Do you act scenes out in the mirror, using physical motions and/or facial expressions as starting points for emotion? What negative experiences do you have (first-hand or otherwise) regarding role-playing on a table compared to the success you’ve had role-playing in your mind?

    This could lead to an interesting discussion! Hopefully other writers post their opinions on this matter as well.


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