By Kate Hill (Guest Blogger)
It’s a great feeling when you’re working on a book and everything is flowing well. The characters are talking to you and to each other and the actual story is following the outline—or at least following it closely enough that you don’t need to rework major areas. Then something happens. Dialogue gets stilted and you realize the scene you’re working on doesn’t make sense. You have to fix the problem and get back on track. At times that’s easier said than done.
It’s inevitable that a writer will eventually experience some form of writer’s block. Sometimes it’s a shortage of ideas and other times it’s the inability to express ideas. I’d like to share my three favorite ways to overcome writer’s block and if you’d like, please share your favorites in the comments. It’s always good to know what helps someone else because it could be the nudge you need to push through your bout of writer’s block.
Method #1: Go for a walk or a run. Maybe it’s the fresh air or the change of scenery, but when I go for a walk or a run I almost always get a flow of writing ideas. I also feel better and more focused when I exercise. Feeling invigorated helps my creativity.
Method #2: Take a shower. I don’t know why, but I always get my best ideas in the shower. This method in particular helps me if I’m stuck on a scene. Sometimes when I’m sitting at the keyboard trying to write a tricky scene, nothing makes sense. As soon as I step under a warm flow of water in the shower, the scene magically plays in my mind and the problem is solved. The biggest issue with this method is trying to remember the details because I can’t type in the shower.
Method #3: Write something else. Sometimes the best way to overcome writer’s block is to put aside the story I’m working on and write another, even if it’s a piece of fan fiction that no one will ever read, except me. Working on something unrelated gets my creativity flowing. Once I’ve spent some time relaxing by writing a no-pressure story, I can return to my current work in progress with fresh enthusiasm. An added benefit to this method is the story you work on to help with your writer’s block might turn out to be one you pursue and the start of a new series.
These three methods have helped me overcome writer’s block. While working on my latest release, Captain’s Mercy, I used all three. My hero, Jonah, could be troublesome. He wasn’t the easiest man to deal with, for me and for the other characters in the book. It took quite a few jogs and showers to work out the details of his story. It was a lot of fun, though, and I hope readers enjoy his book as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Happy reading and happy writing!
Mercy Brown's life changes when she accepts a position as companion to the disabled sister of wealthy shipyard owner Jonah Barnes. She is instantly attracted to the rugged former sea captain, even if his brusque manner offends her. Mercy soon finds herself entangled in the quirky family's secrets.
From the first, Mercy is troubled by prowlers, disturbances from the attic, and unearthly howls on the property. After meeting several unusual household members, including a groundskeeper who works by night and the mischievous Maxwell Barnes, Mercy realizes she should flee while she can.
Pages from Mercy's first novel go missing and Jonah's domineering personality causes tension in the house. Only Mercy's fondness for her young companion, Faith Barnes, as well as her fascination with Jonah prevent her from leaving, but will her desire for him endanger her life?
Excerpt from Captain's Mercy
On their way downstairs, she asked, "What were you doing in the attic? I thought I heard howling up there a short time ago and then a crash."
"The wind, I'm sure. No doubt the crash you heard was Michaels. He tripped over an old trunk. He's up there now, making repairs on a window that was blown open by the storm. He's also trying to get rid of more unwanted guests of the flying rodent variety, so I remind you to stay away from the attic."
"Why do you suppose the pests keep coming back?"
"I'm not sure. My expertise is the sea. Ask me about whales and sharks and I could probably answer. Bats are another story."
"Do you still go to sea?" she asked, eager to keep her mind off the storm.
"Not as much as I used to."
"Do you miss it?"
"At times. I miss the straightforwardness of being at sea. The simplicity. Aboard ship, a man is valued more for what he knows than for his bloodlines."
"You don't have much use for polite society, do you?"
"As long as rich men keep buying my ships, I like it well enough."
"Is that why you partnered with Max?"
"Partly. Max is intelligent and good at business. He knows how to mingle with those kinds of people and put them at ease so they'll make the best deal."
"I see. The business world is all about using people."
"It sounds very cutthroat and lonely to me."
"Maybe, but playing the game is better than being poor, isn't it? I know. I've been on that side of it too. Faith and Max don't remember like I do. They were young when we could barely make ends meet."
They had reached the library and he gestured for her to sit on the couch. He joined her, but kept a respectable distance.
"So you went to sea to take care of them. Do you ever regret it?"
"Not for an instant. There's nothing I wouldn't do for them. My only regret is what happened to Robert." Pain glistened in his dark eyes, taking her aback. He always seemed so strong, even cold at times. He rarely displayed any vulnerability.
Strangely, she wished to comfort him.
"I'm sure what happened to him was quite beyond your control."
"That's not the only thing, it seems." He stared deeply into her eyes and edged closer--so near that they almost touched.
"Mr. Barnes, please." She had intended the words to sound like a warning. Instead they came out like a plea.
At the next clap of thunder, she instinctively jumped and flung her arms around him. He held her snugly and while she knew she should pull away, she didn't want to. She felt safe and secure in his embrace, but it was more than that. The feel of his body, his heart beating against her cheek and his divinely masculine scent aroused her in a way she couldn't deny.
"Mercy," he murmured. When he covered her mouth in a possessive kiss, she didn't even try to stop him, but surrendered, just like Macie to Captain Bristle.
Always a fan of romance and the paranormal, Kate Hill started writing over twenty years ago for pleasure. Her first story, an erotic vampire tale, was accepted for publication in 1996. Since then she has sold over one hundred short stories, novellas and novels. When she's not working on her books, Kate enjoys reading, working out and watching horror movies. Visit her online at http://www.kate-hill.com.