Hitting a Wall in Your Writing: How to Break Through

This article out of Script Magazine by Pen Densham offers practical advice for getting past that wall standing between you and your next great scene:

Harnessing your creativity can be both deliciously mysterious and overwhelmingly frustrating. It often will NOT run on rails.

Whether you react to a blockage by cursing and kicking a hole in the landlord’s wall or retreating to a dark cupboard with a pint of Dreyer’s best frozen sugar bomb, remember …

Have faith that ideas are going to come to you.

I often run into an apparent dead-end. Especially if I am writing a new piece without all my elements and structure figured out. One technique I have learned is to commit the problem to my subconscious and move on to another area. Even quit and take a break altogether. The phrase “sleep on it” is more than just folk wisdom – it works!

No time to sleep, you have to deliver?

Who says we have to write in a straight line?

In World War II, the U.S. forces chose a unique strategy to fight the Japanese who had control of hundreds of Pacific islands, thus creating a set of threatening stepping stones towards America. Instead of bogging down, fighting a linear battle along the chain, the American forces chose a creative solution: a route across the Pacific that skipped any islands they didn’t feel like fighting! They leap-frogged problems, attacking where it suited them and coming back for cleanup when they were good and ready.

Whenever I hit an empty hole in my writing, I try to think of it as just an undiscovered area. Not that it is the end. I do not use myself up in a frontal assault, but change direction, grab a cup of tea, or take a walk and let my brain hop around and give me ideas and solutions in an uncritical, patchwork quilt approach. Ideas from other parts of a story can ricochet around and solve several issues at once.

Read the rest of the article here. 

2 thoughts on “Hitting a Wall in Your Writing: How to Break Through

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  1. At first when I did this, I thought it was a wrong thing to do because I might not get anything done but after reading this, I’ll let my mind wander to other areas or scenes of the story I’m working out.

  2. My routine is one page a day with weekends off unless it’s a deadline or something. I’m 55 pages into my first draft of my current screenplay. I have a loose structure, I haven’t cracked the story but I know where my ending is. The script is filled with on the nose dialogue, set ups and no payoffs, you get the idea. it’s really bad but this is the draft nobody’s going to see except my wife. Getting the damn thing done is my mantra. Does anyone else have this problem? What are some other first draft horrors?

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