November is a Terrible Month for Writer's Block
Some days, there isn’t much to write about. You might be distracted, or you might have fallen into a rut. Maybe it’s what a reporter would call a “slow news day.” Whatever the reason, the words just aren’t coming.
Writer’s block is one of the most common problems writers deal with. Even the best of us have days when penning even a single sentence is a struggle. With enough time and dedication, we can get past it, but what if we don’t have time? What if dedication isn’t the issue, because we really are trying our best?
This is the unpleasant reality for many NaNoWriMo participants right now.
It’s the second week of November, so the excitement of the first few days has worn off, but the finish line is still so far away. This when many NaNoWriMo writers give up. It’s hard to write so much every single day, especially when you don’t know where your story is going, or if you’re convinced, for whatever reason, that it’s simply no good.
If you’re going to make it through the end of the month, you need to commit to getting past your block. But how?
Obviously, you have to keep writing. You’ll never make the deadline if you don’t. Hopefully, after a bad day or two, you’ll overcome the block.
If you’re still having trouble, it might help to switch gears for a few minutes – just not for too long! Brainstorm ideas for another project that you’re still excited about. Enjoy that enthusiasm, and remind yourself that a month isn’t forever; a shiny new piece to work on in December can motivate you to keep going.
I like to begin writing sessions with a little journaling to get the words flowing. Writing prompts are great, too. A quick Google search brings up tons of free writing prompts, or you can brainstorm your own list. Since these only take a few minutes, they won’t take away from your daily NaNo sessions, and with any luck, they’ll help those sessions go by easier.
Still stuck? Here’s some advice I’ve found from other writers:
Joanna Penn lists her “12 Step Cure for Writer’s Block.” She also advocates writing every day.
If you write fiction, it might help to shift your perspective. Kristin Lamb suggests changing your story’s point-of-view, or even casting a different character as your protagonist. Keep in mind that if you try one of these suggestions, you might save your story now, but you’ll have more revisions to do later.
Susan Reynolds doesn’t believe writer’s block actually exists; we just like to use it as an excuse. In this post, she gets to the heart of what’s really going on when we feel like we don’t have anything to say.
Finally, remind yourself that you’re not alone. One of the perks of NaNoWriMo is being part of a community. Other writers all over the country feel the same frustrations you do. Draw strength from and support one another. December will be here before you know it.
Good luck to everyone participating this year, and good luck to writers everywhere! No block lasts forever.