Now that you're writing, one issue you may face is writer's block. Remember our first, best defense against writer's block is a proper outline & summary. Why? Struggling to generate content is one main cause of writer's block. Let's examine the causes now:



Here is one of the few places where "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" rings true


  
 

1. Inability to generate new content
2. Difficulty maintaining attention
3. Strong desire to work on another project
4. Not being in the mood (aka Muse abandonment)

First up is inability to generate new content. If you have a proper summary & outline, you won't have to deal with this. Don't have them? Take a break for a day or two, then re-read what you have so far and create them. Has your story deviated greatly from your outline? Do the same...take a break for 1-2 days, re-read, and then rewrite your source materials. It really is that simple.Just try to do things on your break to stimulate your creative juices. Read books in the same genre, watch movies with similar plots. Keep yourself in the mood!

Second is attention problems. It happens. Maybe you have a new lover in your life, maybe it's the holiday season, maybe work is demanding. This is why we budgeted our time! Go back to your time budget, you've done it twice. Simply recalculate for a third time in a way that allows you to accomplish/enjoy your other activities and still write. Write every day you can, even if it's a little.



Never blame ADHD for writer's block. If it weren't for your ADHD you wouldn't have so many brilliant ideas or so many 36 hour writing sprees or-hey! Squirrels!


 
Are you getting the picture? If you have followed all the steps of Writing 101 & 102 so far you will have the tools you need to quickly overcome writer's block. I told you it wasn't just pointless busy work.

Third we have at bat the strong desire to work on another project, graphomania. Here you have to bargain with yourself: you can write one chapter of the other project if you write one for your current manuscript. You can do both at the same time, though you may have to recalculate your time budget for the manuscript. Once more previous lessons come in handy!

The fourth is also the hardest. When the muse abandons you, you feel fucked. Let's take a moment to address muses. For some they are an actual person. If so...you poor schmuck! What the fuck are you doing? Chances are it's someone you're banging. NO! This only works for artists who paint, Picasso style. Humans are emotional, unstable, and unpredictable. A novel takes much longer to write than a painting does to be completed. 

NEVER USE A PERSON FOR A MUSE particularly none you pay high-the-sausage or tease-the-clam with. Great example: I created the character Michael Finnegan of the Marly Jackson stories years before I met my ex-boyfriend. But eerily, my exes name was Michael, he was half Irish, and like Marly and Michael my Michael and I kept breaking up and getting back together. Unlike Marly, after a year and a half of this I was smart enough to say "I don't care how good the sex is the drama is driving me crazy, so vaya con perro, mi amigo." He now works as a male model and keeps posting public photos on facebook of shoots he did that coincide eerily with my personal sexual fantasies. Hey, I'm not above perving an ex, he's seriously hot so why not? But if he was my muse we haven't talked in three years. Now I only have taunting pictures of him, so where would I be?



Yup that's him. This is where I should add don't date people that resemble your characters. It just fucks things up.


  
 

This is why the muse should be more of a zeitgeist than a person. The only exception is a dead person. Dashiell Hammett is sometimes my muse, I often ask myself WWDHD? In general though, your muse should just be the love of the written word. If you don't have a fierce passion for storytelling you'll never make it as a writer, so embrace that passion and let it guide you.

But what if it goes? It happens. I once took 14 months of writing anything because I was suffering from depression. Illness or a major mood change can put you completely out of sync with the muse. In this case...fuck it. Abandon writing. Take stress off yourself, it's the last thing you need. Do what you need to, the manuscript will wait. When the time is right, the muse will return.

If it's just a short-term general "I don't wanna write!" feeling, you have to first ask yourself why. What is going on in your life? Stress? Writing should solve stress but if it doesn't, you have to de-stress. The quickest, easiest way is to masturbate. I know, I know, awkward to hear in a writing guide, but it's true. It releases feel-good chemicals and relaxes you. Try it and then try writing again. 

If it's been a few weeks and masturbation wont help, you have to go back to the beginning. What inspired you? See the materials you gathered under direction of the Writing 101: 1- series. If it was a written piece or movie, watch it. If it was certain series or a writer's style, review that body of work. If it was a previous idea, re-read that and daydream. If it was real life, talk to the people that were involved and reminisce, or read a journal you kept at the time or any notes you have on the experience. If it was due to a specific place, go back and visit. If it was a fantasy you had, let yourself daydream and update it. Maybe a change is what you need. If it was an idea someone gave you, go back and talk to them about it.



This is a pretty good visual for what writing should feel like


  
 

In short if you have kept all your materials organized you have the tools you need to overcome writer's block. In any instance you may need a short break. If so, take it, just keep yourself focused on movies, TV shows, and books that pertain to your genre. If it's a serious illness or mood change, take a longer break. Fix the issues affecting your life first, then come back to writing.

Remember these strategies and you will never drown in the sorrow of writer's block again. Now is the time to write to your heart's content. Our next lesson will deal with finding critique partners as you work, but this comes in at the 50-66% completed-first-draft mark. Good luck, and happy writing!