Once I’ve figured out whether I’m suffering from writers’ block or depression, if the answer is writers’ block, the only way is forward. But that’s like saying that to solve a maze, you just have to solve the maze. It’s not a strategy.
The strategy that I use is a mix of fixing writers’ block advice that I’ve picked up from various places on the Internet.
First, I have to identify the problem. Am I arguing with what the characters want to do? If so, I should just let them do what they want and revise my outline. Am I frustrated with the way the last scene came out and where it put the characters? Then maybe I should write that scene again, from a different perspective or allowing the characters to go in a new direction.
But by far the most difficult for me is when I likeep where the characters are, and I like the ending I have in mind, but I just don’t know how to connect the dots. Usually this happens when I’ve diverged from the outline (which is very common for me) but I haven’t made a new outline and I still like the ending.
Clearly the solution is to update the outline. But how?
Again, I have to identify the problem. But this time, it’s the characters’ problem. I list out what could go wrong for each character based on everything I’ve already written.
Usually it’s best if multiple things go wrong. One of my weaknesses is that my first drafts are too linear. It’s a lot more dynamic and engaging to have the characters working through multiple problems and having to deal with wrenches as they are thrown in.
Hopefully, the end result is that I can merge their problems into an outline that gets them to the end. Fixing the block is an arduous process, but it’s worth it in the end when I can start writing again.