Writer’s Block: The Scene That Just Might Kill Me

…..Or I might kill it.

If such a thing were possible, I would have already stabbed the paper with my red ink pen.

I’ve come to a scene that I can’t figure out. It needs to exist…it is crucial, but for the life of me I can’t see it. Never has there been such a frustrating thing: to know what you need to do but to be incapable of doing it.

When writer’s block hits me, it often comes in the form of walls like this one, a seemingly impenetrable mammoth.

I may as well be standing outside the Great Wall of China with a spoon as my only tool to dig through to the other side.


The only thing I can do is find a way around it. And with this scene, my way “around” was choosing to just set it aside…a task that has been a near impossibility for me in the past. If it wasn’t finished, I couldn’t move forward, which caused many miserable nights, might I add. 


The point? Sometimes we writers are our own worst enemies.


What about you? When the walls come up how do you find a way over, under, around or through? Can you set a scene or chapter aside and move on?

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8 Comments

  1. Haha! Jessica I read your post. And yeah…I don't think of Writer's Block like most people because for me it's more than just the lack of flow of words. I think obstacles exist for every writer…like we each have our own issues that "block" us sometimes from doing what needs to be done. For me…it's being able to just move on without reaching perfection on the first pass. I've had to learn that that's what rewrites are for. 🙂 Thanks for commenting!!

  2. Unfortunately I am exactly the same way. And your analogy with the Great Wall sounds all too familiar. When I have writer's block with one or both of my WIPs, I usually try and write shorter things like a short story or a blog post or a piece of creative nonfiction. Right now the Great Wall moments are happening way too often for my peace of mind…

  3. Try seeing it like you're watching a movie in your mind. See the scene and hear the conversation that leads up to the "crucial" scene you can't see. I ususally do this in a place where I have total privacy…the shower works good or take a walk. Go somewhere you can think. Put yourself there in the scene…or be a fly on the wall.

    Soon it will come to you, but don't force it. Allow it to come naturally.

  4. When I hit that wall, I hit it pretty hard. Sad thing is, I can't put it aside and move on. I can't write something else to break free of the block. What I have learned to do it walk away from it completely. I don't even think about it and then suddenly it hits me. I either have a dream of how it should go or I picture it in my mind like a movie.
    Yeah, I hate writer's block. lol

  5. I know that feeling, it's like the words are there, but you can't summon them to your brain. Whenever I come to that I just start to research as much as I can, I look at pictures, I read books, and I watch movies. I talk to my characters and try to figure out why they don't want this to happen. And sometimes, like you're doing, I have to step away. But I can't just move forward, I have to step away completely until I figure it out.

  6. Outlines, outlines, outlines. They are the only way that I get anything done, because I have the same tendency to freeze up at a last scene or last chapter that you do. I get waaaay too tense thinking of all of the threads that I need to tie off, having the blueprint in front of me goes a long way.

  7. Funny I should read this today! I've been struggling with a scene that is not only crucial, it's the crux of the whole story. But it's tricky tricky tricky, and I can't set it aside because until I know how it plays out, I don't know what's going to happen next.

    Fortunately, the scene involves two women, one of whom is in a bind and asks the other for help–the thing is, what she's asking for puts an unfair burden on the friend, yet it's the kind of thing you just can't say 'no' too.

    So, I sent a friend of mine an email that said, "Hypothetically, if I came to you with this problem and asked for help, what would you do?" She helped ENORMOUSLY. It was great!

    Good luck with your scene. I've heard that Margaret Mitchell wrote the last scene of *Gone With the Wind* first…