Thoughts on Writer’s Block | Bryan Thomas Schmidt

About the author

Bryan Thomas Schmidt is the author of the space opera novels The Worker Prince, a Barnes & Noble Book Clubs Year’s Best SF Releases of 2011 Honorable Mention, and The Returning, the collection The North Star Serial, Part 1, the children’s book 102 More Hilarious Dinosaur Jokes For Kids from Delabarre Publishing and editor of the anthology Space Battles: Full Throttle Space Tales #6 which he edited for Flying Pen Press, headlined by Mike Resnick. As a freelance editor, he’s edited a novels and nonfiction.  An affiliate SFWA member, he also hosts Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Chat every Wednesday at 9 pm EST on Twitter and is a frequent contributor to Adventures In SF PublishingGrasping For The Wind and Hugo nominee SFSignal. He can be found online as @BryanThomasS on Twitter or via

Thoughts on writer’s block

I did a post on this, in fact, where I solicited advice from SFF pros. But here’s my own approach.

1) Blocks almost always happen because you took a wrong turn. It may not be in the spot where you are stuck. Something you did earlier may be at fault. But it’s important to figure out what that is and fix it, and then you’ll be able to move on. Step outside for fresh air and take a walk. Turn off the cell. Avoid music if you can do it. Just clear your mind. Think through the plot and story. See if anything strikes you as wrong. Which points directly lead to where you are and might effect it? Don ‘t make notes. Do it all mentally, as relaxed as you can. Even if you don’t come up with an immediate solution, it gets the subconscious wheels turning to sort it out.

2) Have something else to work on. I often have short stories, blog posts, or other writing going. I have editing on another project, etc. When I get stuck on one, I move to another. Not only does it help to shift gears but psychologically it keeps you feeling positive because you’re still writing and being productive, thus cutting down on some of the stress of the block. You can’t fix it and clear your mind to do so when you’re tense, so relieving tension can be a big help to progression past it.

3) Make what notes you can on that scene and skip to another one that’s clear in your mind. The only person making you write linearly is you. No one will be the wiser. So if there’s a scene past the point where you’re blocked of which you have clear vision, hop to it. Write that. You can come back to this later. Getting beyond the block is what matters and you’ll probably figure out the stuck part as you move along.

I could go on but those are three core tricks I use. Many more, of course, can be found in the post.

One Responses

  • Similar thoughts to mine, although that “you made the wrong turn earlier” is a nuance that I have not yet grokked. Thanks, Bryan!

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