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I've been writing a story for almost half a year. I worked on it almost every day because I really like doing it, but now that I have been away for a month on a vacation I can't seem to write a single sentence.

I don't know what happened but it's so hard for me to continue writing. Either I can't concentrate or I just stare at the screen. I hate this so much because I want to finish my story, but I just cant. Could anyone please help me?

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    It sounds like you have lost connection to the story. Try reading through it all, and try to get "into" the story. Once you are in the story again, you will find it much easier to write. Another thing you could try is putting some ideas down on paper. A change of setting or medium can make a huge difference as well. – veryRandomMe Aug 7 '15 at 17:11
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    You are tired of that story. Write something else. Come back to it in a few years, when its fresh again. – user5645 Aug 8 '15 at 0:36
  • Relevant, possibly a duplicate: Help! I've got Writer's Block – Goodbye Stack Exchange Aug 10 '15 at 20:05
  • Try an oblique strategy. – PTm Aug 12 '15 at 18:40
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    It may be that the story has become too important. Do something that destroys it. Kill off the main character. Change scene to the middle ages. Suddenly the earth stops spinning. You can always change things back later, or tone things down, but it might re-start the momentum. – PTm Aug 12 '15 at 18:43
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Relax. You just wrote a bunch of sentences in this post. You're fine, you're just a little stuck.

Do you know what happens next in your story? If not, your issue isn't with writing, it's with planning. Try to brainstorm and figure out where you're going. There are a lot of different outlining worksheets on the internet and you could try one of those.

If you know what happens next, do you know what happens after that? Why don't you jump ahead and try to write that scene, and come back to this stuck one later?

Some other ideas - try writing something else. Try a poem, a short story, a descriptive paragraph, or free writing. Just make yourself put words on the page, even if it's "I don't know what to write" fifty times. Let your brain get used to writing again.

Switch up your tools. Do you normally type? Try handwriting, or writing in crayon with pictograms every paragraph, or whatever else will pull you out of your brain.

Try a different location.

Talk to someone about your story and get excited again.

Talk to someone about your characters and remember why you care about them.

Leave this story behind. Just because the story isn't finished doesn't mean you aren't finished with it. Maybe it's time for you to start another story.

Overall? RELAX. The story isn't going anywhere, and it'll be waiting for you when you're ready.

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Stuff that works for me:

  1. I have a beer. Alcohol is an disinhibitor, and disinhibition is the exact opposite of a block. (If you don't drink alcohol maybe you can try coffee. Not sure why, but it works too.)

  2. I write thinking, "Okay, I'll write the idea first and I'll come back to fix the wording later."

  3. I write while listening to music. (For some reason, listening to words + rhythm, stimulates those that are tramped inside me.)

Try these out.

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    And if you lose the writer's block, have another beer to celebrate! – Mac Cooper Aug 7 '15 at 16:55
  • @Mac Cooper Yeah, then you'll get drunk and write some amazing stuff and forget how you did it in the morning. – Alexandro Chen Aug 9 '15 at 15:15
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    well I think we can both see the solution to that haha xD – Mac Cooper Aug 9 '15 at 15:16
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Just use Gemmell's rule, which is actually quite old. Have a character ask a question, any question. You'll never again get stuck with writers block. For example,

"So where are we going?"

The other man mumbled. "Gonna go buy steaks --"

"What steaks? And who're you, by the way? I thought that we were ... "

Your last chapter of course has nothing about any steaks. And really, who is this other guy? Well it doesn't matter. You don't know, you'll have to decide. Oh! and now you're not stuck anymore.

That's just a device to break through writers block. You never intended to get stuck, so the plot has no such scenario. However you did, in fact, get stuck. Now it really doesn't matter what you wrote prior these three sentences, I repeat. They force the story to move on. You can always edit and improve the `unblocking' device later.

Works for academic writing too. It's how most mathematics books are organized, why they're so all over the place in structure.

Even Byron did it. Why else is a question about the sinking of Venice in the same text as a story about the Ukraine? Anyway, nobody will complain. Presumably you can make it interesting and worth reading. Although it was an arbitrary event in the plot, it doesn't look arbitrary to the reader if you do it right. And you simply cannot get stuck in that case.

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  • Stephen King famously did a version of this in The Stand. He was getting bored with his own story so he literally threw a bomb into it, killing off one character and injuring another. – Lauren-Clear-Monica-Ipsum Mar 24 '16 at 19:40
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You'll have to get to the root of what is bothering you.

Is it related to attaining perfection?

No one ever became perfect by doing nothing. ~anonymous

Are you afraid that you'll get the words down and they won't be perfect or as good as you hope and it'll mean something about you? Are you worried that you'll prove you are not a writer?

Here's an article I wrote on that: Why Have You Stopped Writing?

Are your self-limiting thoughts & beliefs helping you?

Here's an article I wrote about that. Maybe it'll encourage you: Self-limiting thoughts?

Do you feel like maybe you are wasting your time and not getting any better? Here's an article I wrote about on that: Wasting Time Or Learning

Maybe you feel like you are failing in your writing? Here's an article I wrote about : Why Failing Fast Is Succes : Write More

I hope you'll find some encouragement in these. I've written them at times to keep myself writing.

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    Dont take this the wrong way, but, No one ever became perfect, period. ---me – DrZ214 Aug 8 '15 at 18:01
  • No offense taken. Your point is a great one. Many people simply get stuck with writing (creating anything) because they are afraid the physical manifestation will prove the final product is imperfect. Which, of course, is true. Just as you said no one -- and nothing -- is perfect. This often leads to someone beginning her creation in her mind yet stopping short of actually creating. However, the thing isn't perfect if it isn't created either. – raddevus Aug 8 '15 at 19:39
  • I'm a perfectionist. It's my flaw.™ I used to have a lot of writers block and never understood why. On the other hand, these days I'm a lot less coherent and just write where I feel like it. It used to be I would strictly go linearly from Chapter 1 to the end. Maybe that was a bad thing. – DrZ214 Aug 8 '15 at 21:35
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An author once told me just to write 10 minutes every day, without any thinking about what sense it makes. That'll produce a lot of garbage, but sooner or later you'll find some great sentences and passages you might use to break through your blocking thoughts, because you have a new perspective.

So it's like loose the focus to get focused again.

Maybe that helps you too?

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I think it's pretty common to get to the point where your inner critic is pretty much paralyzing you. When I went through a period of not being able to write, I finally made a deal with myself that in the first draft I could do no revisions, just write, but I allowed myself to make marginal notes on the order of "fix this," "this is crap," and so on. I could say to that critic, yeah, I'll get there, and just keep writing. It worked for me.

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READ. Read read read. I've been in your situation before, and reading helped. But make sure it's someone good: someone who gets you "pumped" to write. Might I recommend David Foster Wallace?

Other stuff that worked for me: listening to emotional music before/slightly during; writing really really late at night (slash early in the morning—that middle-space); and, honestly, sometimes, just letting it lie. Try some other sort of brain-stretching activity. Do some math (fun stuff, not algebra—check AoPS or project Euler). Exercise. Disrupt all of your routines and resume them. And don't worry. It will work out.

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