This is not an easy question to answer. Having writer’s block is like a disease. It’s a terrible thing that can last for loooong amounts of time. My last bout, I believe, lasted over a year, but I’ve had shorter periods of it as well.
There are different types, I feel. One sort is not being able to come up with an idea to write about at all. Another type is having an idea but just not having the energy to put it on paper. You can feel depressed about writing altogether, wondering why you even bother. It’s like you want to, but you can’t. Terrible. I have to say, I was beginning to wonder if I would ever come out of mine. Even though I’ve worked on a few other things, Nevermor is the first project that I truly feel has delivered me.
*Essentially this is a re-post of an answer I gave on a different thread as a reply. I thought maybe some of you missed it.*
I’ve said that I had writer’s block after I wrote Rickety House for NaNo two years ago. That story was different. I wrote it differently than I had in the past when working on a story, and after that I couldn’t quite get back on track. It was all from one character’s perspective, it was modern day, I wrote it all in one document instead of chapters, I didn’t post any of it until it was completely finished… Everything was different.
On top of that, last year was busy for me, but I kept trying to write something new and it didn’t work out. I think I wrote a short story or something, but I just couldn’t get back on track. I edited some of my older stuff (like what I posted on Wattpad when I first joined, which I had already written) but even that couldn’t help me. I planned to force myself to write by doing NaNo last year, and I did have a story idea that I was ready to work on, but I couldn’t get into it. I think I did eventually write a couple of chapters, but I didn’t go forward with the novel.
Then early this year, I made a friend who was trying to get back into writing after a long while too, so as an exercise, we started writing one together. We would go back and forth writing chapters. (It’s my turn, by the way, and we didn’t finish it. ) But that helped. Just anything to actually DO some writing was nice, and since I didn’t really know where that story was going, it took some of the pressure out of building a plot and relaxed me so that I was able to just write. It was good just to get some words on the page, even if it was all over the place. :p
After that, I thought I was ready to stick to something of my own, so I dug up an old idea and wrote a few chapters on it, but the plot was so complex and I was stressing over the delivery (and doubting I could do it) so I had to stop. It was just too heavy to think about. So even though I was writing, I believe I was still suffering from writer’s block at that time. That wasn’t very long ago – maybe June or July.
I think the way I got over it, really, was that I had forgotten to have FUN with writing. It was like I just wanted to create this super brilliant thing (and I still do) but with that came so much stress that I couldn’t do it. I just had to let go a little bit. I wrote a few small pieces just for fun (that will probably never see the light of day) but at least I was writing, and I didn’t feel the pressure. Writing Nevermor has been fun for me so far and I haven’t felt that in a while with a bigger project. Plus, I’ve made it public and promised others that I was going to do it. My determination to self-publish has also helped to drive me.
So, my advice on beating writer’s block? Just write. I know that sounds unusual, but I think it’s true. Write something that doesn’t matter. It doesn’t even have to be a story. Write a scene with characters that don’t have a purpose. Just try to write something. Personally, I guess I just had to remember to loosen up and have fun again. Once you get yourself back on track, the more difficult stories will be easier to tackle later.