Dealing with Writer’s Block

Finding a topic to write about is always quite difficult for me. No, don’t get me wrong. My head is full of people demanding that I write their story. They are so demanding, in fact, that sometimes they keep my up at night. But I digress.

After many minutes staring at a blank computer screen, with that blinking cursor taunting me, I finally thought I would write a blog post about…Writer’s Block! Fitting, right?

Now, many people ask me how I deal with writer’s block. There is really no simple answer to that question.

First, I am a heavy outliner. Sometimes my outlines are half the length of the book. I find that by outlining so much of the book, I rarely run into true writer’s block. I know what’s going to happen and when.

Outlining has given me a distinct advantage in my writing process. I used to try and write by the seat of my pants. It seems so much more romantic, doesn’t it? But I found I would write myself into a corner with no conceivable way out.  Without a way to believably way to advance the plot, without using the “it was all a dream” plot device, I ended up with multiple half-finished books cluttering up my hard drive.

Now that I outline my books, I can see those plot holes and fix them before I get into the nitty gritty.

Of course, that doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally lose focus on whatever manuscript I’m working on at any given time. I get bored easily and sometimes the process of writing a believable story, developing characters and even advancing the story arc becomes overwhelming. My solution was to have multiple projects going on at the same time.

I used to try and only work on one story at a time, figuring that I would get that book done much faster. Recently, however, I’ve discovered that by having multiple works in progress can keep me productive. If one book is giving me problems I can simply switch projects.  Once I return to the original project, I am refreshed and ready to go.

For the odd time that I do truly run into writer’s block, I simply let things…simmer. The answer usually comes to me at the oddest times, like when I’m changing a diaper or cleaning the bathroom.

Naturally, my question today for authors is: how do you deal with writer’s block?