What do you do when you find yourself hitting the proverbial wall? The one that bans you from reaching your characters, hearing or seeing or touching them, let alone the darkness in which you sit because, let’s face it, nothing is coming to you. Well, the answer to that is simple. You Write!
Seems impossible, right? Well, the problem, for me at least, is that I am trying to push my character in a direction that he or she does not want to go, or I have stepped away from that narrator for too long. Both problems are common reasons for writer’s block. So how can writing help you and me break down that wall that keeps us from out masterpieces?
First off, pushing the character to do something he or she is not likely to do, usually keeps a character from talking and pulls you into a screeching stop. It happens to the best of us. Now, you need to write! In the same direction or not, write something. Put words down on paper that may not be so comfortable feeling. But keep doing it! The more words you come across, the closer you get to hitting the material you needed to begin with. Delve and write that shitty first draft. That’s what the first draft is for. To figure out what it is you are writing exactly.
It’s when you go back and hone your craft, pare away what doesn’t fit. The drafting process is exactly that, a process of inventing, deleting, reorganizing, introducing and taking away. It’s cyclical. There are no stops, no true beginning and end. But that’s another post.
Sometimes it takes writing in your character’s point of view for a while, even if it has nothing to do with the plot of your current piece, to get them to speak to you again. So introduce them to another person’s world, give them somewhere new to go, someone new to talk to. Role Playing is excellent for this. You can meet all sorts of characters with their own worlds and stories to bounce your character off of. This will generate material because you’re writing. The same is true for simply, opening a blank page and a favorite book and trying your character’s hand at reacting to a beloved published character. There are many options for thrusting your character into a new world.
Really, what the point is, is to read, re-read your material, read others’ material, and write. WRITE! That is the one and only step to being a writer. Write.