NaNoWriMo – Hitting the wall

Writer’s BlockHitting the wall

We’ve just passed the halfway point of NaNoWriMo and if you’re anything like me, you’ve hit a wall (or several) in your quest to write a novel.  Writer’s block happens to everyone and the constraints of NaNoWriMo are there to try to pull you through the worst of your funk.  Though right now, it feels like they’re hog-tying me (and not the fun kind in BDSM novels either).

So, here are some of the tricks that I’ve employed to knock down my walls:

1.  Sleep on it – When I know how I want a scene to go down, but don’t have a detailed map, I’ll close my eyes and try to imagine my characters.  Often, I fall asleep and dream my way through a hard scene.  Sometimes, I wake up with no ideas but am well rested enough to push myself to write through a scene.  Other times, I wake up with nothing to show but drool on my pillow and visions of stranded characters dancing in my head.

2.  Veg out in front of the TV – Okay, I know there are a lot of TV-haters out there and I’m sure most of us watch too much of it.  But there is something to be said for the magical glowing light of the TV and it might serve as inspiration for a new piece – after all, the author of the “Hunger Games” credits the idea to a night of channel surfing.

3.  Human interaction (some participation required :p ) – Hanging out with friends is a great way to unwind, recharge, and sometimes, talk through plot flaws.  If you’re more of the strong/silent type, going out to the store, cafe, bar, or gym will expose you to a wealth of characters and interesting bits of dialogue.  Eavesdropping (oh, you know you already do it), can help you get better at writing tricky bits of dialogue or just be entertaining as hell.  (I know, it’s a little naughty.  But honestly, don’t air out your dirty laundry if you don’t want the rest of us to sniff it.)

4.  Go outside (or at least look out there) – Sitting inside and wasting away in front of various electronic devices is making you look like zombie.  There are living things outside, seeing them might wake your brain up.

5.  Do something physical (yes, even that counts) – Go for a walk, run a mile, dance, or whatever.  Getting your heart rate up and your body focused on physical activity can make your brain start firing in new and interesting ways.  Sometimes, I come up with good bits of dialogue while running (although, you should know, I am a terrible runner).

6.  Clean something – If you’ve been participating in a writing marathon, you’ve probably been ignoring other chores to buy some time, like cleaning the bathroom, the floor, your room, or yourself.  You should probably clean those things while you’re thinking about the next scene, especially if you plan on having guests over for Thanksgiving.

7.  Cook something – Maybe you’re just hungry.  My family is part Italian and if I’ve learned anything from Grandma, it’s that you should eat something.  Extra points if you can fit it into your novel.

8.  Read something – All writers begin as readers and should continue to read throughout their endeavors.  If you’ve been writing a lot, are in a rut, and have been neglecting your reading, pick up a book to rediscover the joy of losing yourself in a story.  Escaping into a novel may help to jump-start your own imagination, or at the very least, remind you how magical and important it is to write a good story.

What do you do to get past writer’s block?

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3 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo – Hitting the wall”

  1. For me I force it. Sit there, write anything, hate it, dive into a spiral of self loathing… eventually get groove back, write lots, return to edit. In that exact order, every time!

    Good luck with NaNoWriMo!

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      1. Absolutely! Hate it, loathe it, despise it? Edit it later. The important thing is getting past it so you can continue. Some of my best scenes have been immediately after a forced scene and then once that scene is written, I go back and tie the first scene into the second scene better and it flows nicely. Good luck with the edits 😛

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