Writer’s Block Solution: Find the Flow
My typical technique when it comes to writing is to slam through a story pushing on until I’m done and then going back to fix it. A few years back, however, I had the privilege of working with a colleague who happens to be a great writer and employs a much different style that I have come to greatly appreciate.
She took a very methodical approach that can be useful anytime but especially when faced with writer’s block. Like many of us, she starts with the lead. Then she would write a bit more and read through the entire piece out loud. Then she would write some more and read it through again, changing and tweaking as she moved along. To me at the time, being much younger and impatient, it seemed to be a needlessly lengthy process. I have found however that there are several advantages and that at it can actually help break through a log jam of words.
As my friend moved along, she was making sure that the sentences flowed along one into the other, gently leading the reader through the story. It also gave her a sense of what should come next. This is a skill that is honed through reading and paying attention to good stories. As you develop it, you will get a feel for what needs to come next. It’s as if you know the questions your reader is asking himself based on what you’ve written so far and you provide the answer. You may even find yourself stopping and asking what needs to come next. Using this strategy, when you get stuck, you go back to the start of the story, read through and you may find that the answer is clearer. It gives your mind something to do other than stare at the unfinished sentence grasping for an elusive clever way to wrap it up.