Want to know my #1 secret for preventing writer’s block?
It is not fun (as in the adjective or the band…even though listening to their music might help). It is not sexy. It will not make you want to flip your hair like Beyonce (well, maybe after, but definitely not during the process).
It is an outline.
I can already hear the “pantsers” (people who write by the seat of their pants) groaning. I know you think it kills your creativity. That it robs writing of all spontaneity. That is totally fine. If outlining doesn’t work for you, then write without one. Rock on with your bad self.
But I know some of you sit down to write and stare at the screen. It doesn’t matter if you have zero words before the blinking cursor or 40,000. When you are stuck, it is terrible.
Instead of writing, you open up your browser. You look at hours of cat videos instead of writing.
Do you know how bad that is?
You lose all your street cred. Nobody takes someone who watches endless cat videos seriously.
Oh, and you also don’t write anything either.
I used to suffer. I was well-versed in Corgi pictures and Kimmy Schmidt memes (okay, maybe I still am). But things are different now. I write 1,000 words every day.
What is my sweet oasis in the writing desert?
It is the Carswell Thorne to my Cress; it helps me get through the wilderness to civilization.
Let me give you a real life example.
Last week, I had finished my second chapter of my novel. I had a moment of panic as I opened my Word document. I had just finished a fun scene where my protagonist gets asked out by a guy for the first time. Ever.
How do you come back from that? Your character is practically skipping down the street to Duncan Sheik’s “On a High” (don’t worry; she doesn’t actually listen to him…she is much too jaded for that) and then you have to write something the next day? Nobody wants to leave the high of young love!
But, alas, the cold reality of school and homework has to return. Fortunately, I was able to immediately start writing after I saw my chapter outline. It not only helped me by reminding me of where I wanted to go next, but the bullets reminded me of what were the most important events that needed to occur and why.
Also, the outline helped me see how everything is connected and made me look at the big picture. Do I want the characters to actually go on that date? Of course! Then I need to get to chapter four, which requires me writing chapter three.
So my advice for you this week is to sit down and write an outline. Play some Beyonce or FUN. Drink a fun coffee. Do whatever you need to get it done. You will be grateful when you are stuck staring in front of the blinking cursor and are tempted to watch more cat videos.
Need help outlining your novel? Book a Novel(ty) Day with me!