Now, I want to make something clear right off: I don't believe in writer's block. Don't get me wrong, that doesn't mean I don't believe in getting stuck. Heaven knows I've gotten stuck myself. But writer's block implies that you are blocked. You can't move forward. You should just go sit on the couch and eat a gallon of ice cream and watch Doctor Who because there's no point in even trying.
Taking a break is often a good way to clear your head, but there are some writing techniques that can help too. So now, I give you the Illustrated Guide to Inspiration. This can work if you're stuck or not; you can take it literally or literarily, and either way it's a great way to find inspiration.
Get a different perspective on something familiar
For our anniversary, the hubs and I had a rooftop dinner at a charming little cafe with an open roof. It looked out over the place we got married. As I looked out over the beautiful Salt Lake Temple, I noticed things about it I hadn't seen from the ground. It was beautiful, and I saw the place a little differently, which meant I thought about it a little differently.
Try this in your book. You naturally assume, after thinking and working on it so long that the way things are going is the way they should go. Take a look at the troublesome scene again. View it from another character's POV, or imagine what would happen if you twisted those familiar moments.
Don't be afraid to get lost
After dinner, me and Hubby decided to wander around Salt Lake City. Someone had told us where to find a lovely little park where several historical figures were buried, and we set out to find it. We went completely the wrong way, but we found some gorgeous places and just enjoyed the springtime. And eventually, we found what we were looking for.
Don't be afraid that if you wander around in your story, you'll never get out. Not only will you find some really stunning twists along the way, you just might get where you wanted to go.
Go somewhere you've never been
The building where we ate dinner was built 100 years ago exactly as the old Hotel Utah. It was the swankiest hotel in the west, and MAN is it gorgeous. It was built back in the day when everything was elaborate and attention to detail was important. I've been to other parts of it before, but I've never just lingered in the lobby. Standing there took me back to a time when ladies in fancy dresses and men in suits and cravats mingled in the magnificence.
Don't be afraid to go somewhere new in your story. Try writing something a few scenes away, or try taking your characters somewhere you didn't plan. Immerse yourself in something completely new, even if it's a different story. Just wandering around can help you find what you want.
Don't be afraid to ask for help.
As we wandered the lobby, we asked a worker if there was anything else he would recommend we look at while there. He pointed to a conference room where a gorgeous old buffet table sat. It was 300 years old and originally sat in a castle in Scotland.
I'm a sucker for historical things, and it fascinated me to run my fingers over the polished wood and imagine the castle where the table had sat and the people who had touched it before me. In the meantime, my husband discovered something different: an intricate Asian chest that was just as beautiful as the buffet table.
Don't be afraid to ask for help from your critique group and friends. Not only can you get some great ideas from them, but you just might discover some ideas of your own along the way.
So, my friends, what do you do when you get stuck? Feel free to share any helpful tips!