Writer’s block has left countless writers with the inability to put words to paper. Whether it’s a total lack of ideas or too many ideas, writer’s block leads to convoluted thinking and stops the writer from creating a story. It’s almost inevitable and whether you’ve written one or one hundred books, writer’s block is one of the biggest obstacles a writer might face. It can occur at any stage of the writing process and for some writers, it’s incredibly difficult to beat.
Last week, I discussed the benefits of exercise and how physical activity can help a writer to overcome writer’s block. This week, I am going to discuss how starting a new scene can reinvigorate your creativity and help you beat writer’s block.
When you are in the middle of a writing project, especially something as long as a novel, it’s easy to grow into a slump and develop writer’s block. A lot of writers outline the plot of their story and write the chapters in order of how they are in the outline. However, I find that I can sometimes get stuck when I am writing my novel linearly. It’s normal to find yourself desiring to write a scene that happens near the end and lose the motivation to write the ones that come before it. When we lose the motivation to write the scenes in between, this can result in writer’s block.
In order to overcome this struggle, I have found that breaking away from the outline and starting a new scene is immensely helpful. This new scene can be one that you’ve previously outlined that you feel excited about or it can be a scene that you never pictured being in your book. For example, imagine that you are writing a crime novel that focuses on a murder victim’s family. In the outline, you might have had the family nervously waiting for the police to show up and give them the results of the investigation of the crime scene. Instead, write from the point of view of one of the family members going out and investigating the crime scene themselves. Where did the murder occur? What does the family member find? Is there anything suspicious at the crime scene that police have not found? Even if you don’t keep the scene in your novel, it can give you an alternative view of your story, inspire new ideas, and get you excited to write again.
Don’t be afraid to write a scene that you know won’t be included in your project because it’ll be a “waste of time”. Take the example above. If you know that you won’t include a family member investigating the crime scene in your manuscript, write it anyway. This will force you to really picture the setting and the details will become more vivid and distinct. Yes, thousands of words may end up getting cut from your manuscript, but the scene will have aided in world building and may have inspired a new idea.
If you want to write a scene that will be included in the novel, there should be no stopping you. If you feel excitement about the scene, use that passion to write as much as you can. It’ll be easier to connect the scene to the rest of the story later than to stay stagnant and wish for inspiration to hit you. I know that some writers don’t like to write disjointed scenes, but I encourage you to break free of the confines of the outline and start a new scene. You’ll feel refreshed by the new change of pace and your story will really begin to come to life.
Starting a new scene is a great way to get excited about writing again. I know that every writer relishes the feeling of a new idea and it’s incredibly easy to increase your word count when the ideas are fresh. Beginning a new scene gives you this boost of motivation and enables you to get out of the slump of writer’s block.
I will be continuing my Beat the Block series throughout the month of April to provide tips and tricks to beat writer’s block. If you have ever defeated writer’s block by starting in a new scene, please share your thoughts in the comments.
Until next week,