3 Ways to Head Off Writer’s Block Before You Get Halfway through Your Manuscript!

25 May

Writing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1.    Get a Vision for Your Book.
What is it about? What is your theme or message or issue that your main character(s) have to deal with? Where and when does your book take place? Who are your characters and why do they have to deal with a certain issue? How are they going to deal with that issue (or issues)? Does it work? (I hope not or you have a very short book!) How do they deal with disappointment or challenge to their goals not being met? What do they do in order to finally conquer? (Did you notice all those ‘W’ and ‘H’ questions? Works great for a book plot!)

2.    Set Goals for Your Writing.
You need daily, weekly, and even monthly goals. How many words do you want to write a day or a week? When do you want to get this book done? Don’t forget to plan time for editing.

Instead of word count goals, you might consider completing a set number of scenes per day or week. Include writing in your daily ‘to do’ list. Don’t forget to bring a computer or notebook with you so you can write yourself notes. Leave yourself text messages, whatever. Give yourself time to do research and have fun with it!

3.    Get Down to the Business of Writing.
I know that some people get an idea in their heads and can sit down and just write. That works for them. It does not work for me. (Some people can do column upon column of math in their heads, but I can’t do that either!) To make my life and my writing easier, I outline. It’s not set in stone and my characters and plot have taken some interesting left turns on me, but I think of it like a journey. I know where I’m starting. I know where I want to end up and I have a basic idea of how I want to get there.

However, living in Chicagoland, I’ve learned that MapQuest or my navigator app on my I-phone doesn’t always get you there. Sometimes, there are road closures. You have to make a U-turn. You have to get there a different way. That’s okay, so long as I get there.

It’s the same with writing. I have a basic outline with some ‘high point’ scenes sketched out. I have to figure out how to get my characters to those points and what to do if my character suddenly does something crazy (or my plot decides to throw in a dead body or two!). That’s okay with me, so long as I can get to my happy ending. This is where getting down to the business of writing happens. It’s where the fun begins. I like the curve balls. After all, isn’t writing really just about taking your readers the ‘scenic route’?

How do you head off writer’s block at the pass? Let me know in the comments! 🙂


Posted by on May 25, 2012 in Author in the Trenches


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5 responses to “3 Ways to Head Off Writer’s Block Before You Get Halfway through Your Manuscript!

  1. Sally

    May 27, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Thanks for the tips and reminders Christina. I find when I have my goals set and specific time set I am much more productive with my writing time.

    • ChristinaLi

      May 27, 2012 at 11:42 pm

      Me too, Sally. If I have a working plan, it’s actually a little easier to be disciplined about writing. 🙂

  2. nwatrud

    May 28, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    Just making myself get going on a project is my problem. I’ve found that writing a post on my blog gets me inspired.


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