Writer's Block



A question that comes up from time to time is "How do you deal with writer's block" or some variation like "Is writer's block real?"

Writer's block is a very real phenomenon. It is basically writing to the end of your conscious stream for a story, and it can be very daunting and frustrating to overcome. I have set on a particular writing project for months trying to figure out where to go next.

So how do you deal with it? How do you as the Doors would say "Break on through to the other side?"

The best advice I have come upon regarding combating writer's block, is from Ernest Hemingway. His advice to a young apprentice, Arnold Samuelson as quoted in Samuelson's book, With Hemingway: A Year in Key West.

"The most important thing I’ve learned about writing is never write too much at a time… Never pump yourself dry. Leave a little for the next day. The main thing is to know when to stop. Don’t wait till you’ve written yourself out. When you’re still going good and you come to an interesting place and you know what’s going to happen next, that’s the time to stop. Then leave it alone and don’t think about it; let your subconscious mind do the work.

The next morning, when you’ve had a good sleep and you’re feeling fresh, rewrite what you wrote the day before. When you come to the interesting place and you know what is going to happen next, go on from there and stop at another high point of interest. That way, when you get through, your stuff is full of interesting places and when you write a novel you never get stuck and you make it interesting as you go along. "

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