Cliff Notes For Brick Wall Syndrome

There are some parts of life that make no sense whatsoever.

Like crazy drivers who are determined to get you and everyone else on the road killed. How about the person who has moved their ice house on the lake when there is only an inch of solid ice and yesterday it thawed?

Don’t forget the mom of captain perfect who has tons of advice on how to raise your child better, while hers is tearing apart your living room. Or the resident expert who isn’t so expert. How about your checkbook that doesn’t seem to want to balance?

Lots of things in life don’t make sense. Sometimes I think, this is why God inspired man to invent brick walls. You know, the thing you hit your head on when you’re stuck?

Us writer’s know a lot about brick walls. They are the primary culprits of writer’s block. If you haven’t hit one yet, then you will soon if you’re a writer. When we get writer’s block, we hit our heads against the problem over and over with no solution.

I call this Brick Wall Syndrome.

Cliff Notes For Overcoming Brick Wall Syndrome:

*Determine if the cause of your Writer’s Block is internal or external. 

If you are struggling personally in your private life, time with God, or even your health you may experience writer’s block. That is your body’s way of telling you to take care of yourself. If this is where you are at, take a break, go for a walk, do something that relaxes you and takes away the pressure.

If the cause of your writer’s block is not in your personal life, or stress related, then try the tips below.

*Overcoming Writer’s Block From External Causes:

*Recreate the passion for your story, by telling a friend. Avoid focusing on your frustration, but on the story you love. It will inspire you with new ideas.

*Recognize the first draft is just a plot draft.  Write the scene, letting it flow wherever it takes you. Don’t expect perfection, in fact reject it. It will keep your plot moving at the speed of your ideas, freeing you from the paralysis of perfection.

*Research to find a new part of the story you haven’t explored.

*Skip the scene your writing and come back to it when it is less daunting. You may even find you don’t need it at all.

*Kill the character, who is killing you. Let them morph into someone different, or let them die at the hands of a ruthless enemy.

*Change the POV of the scene. You might be struggling with how a character views this scene, so pick a different character to tell it.

*Write down the basic goal of the scene and the emotion the character is experiencing. What will they notice in that scene? For example, while attending a former fiancé’s wedding, a heroine will notice things that remind her of broken dreams. What metaphor reflects that emotion and how she feels about herself? Who could be a voice of truth in the scene?

I’ve learned a lot about metaphor from author Rachel Hauck and My Book Therapy.

*Brainstorming is all about questions, so prepare ahead. Make a small recipe box of questions to ask yourself when you are struggling. Questions are the key to escaping writer’s block. You might include questions totally unrelated to the scene itself, but related to the characters that would help them to bring out different qualities you could use in the scene.


About Michelle Lim

Author Michelle Lim is the Brainstorming/Huddle Coach with My Book Therapy Press and the Midwest Zone Director for American Christian Fiction Writers. Michelle’s romantic suspense is represented by Karen Solem of Spencillhill Associates and has gained contest recognition in the Frasier, the Genesis, and the Phoenix Rattler, winning the Genesis in 2015 for her genre. Michelle writes devotionals for The Christian Pulse Online Magazine and Putting On The New. Since her nonfiction book release, Idea Sparking: How To Brainstorm Conflict In Your Novel, through public speaking and online chats Michelle helps writers discover the revolutionary power of brainstorming to bring new life to their stories.

5 thoughts on “Cliff Notes For Brick Wall Syndrome

  1. Ooh! I like the small recipe box idea. Metaphors are hard for me, although sometimes I’ll write one and not even know it until someone says, “That’s a great metaphor.” Then I have to go back and figure out what I did. :>)
    Another keeper post, Michelle!

  2. Michelle Lim says:

    Metaphors do stretch our minds sometimes, that is for sure. Thanks for being a faithful blog follower, Pat!

  3. jeannemt says:

    Michelle, great post. Your suggestions are very practical. 🙂 I’d love to get some ideas on what kinds of questions to ask to get the brainstorming going. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your wisdom today!

  4. Michelle Lim says:

    Glad to help, Jeanne. Maybe I will do a brainstorming question list. I did teach a Brainstorming Webinar on the MBT site that has some information for you if you want to check it out.

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