Waiting for the Bubble to Surface (Otherwise Known as Writer’s Block)

My husband insists it’s idea block.

I have no idea why he’s so adamantly against calling it writer’s block.

No matter. The possessive noun is unimportant here. The word to focus on is block.

Basically, I’m attempting to write a synopsis for a potential novel, only I can’t get a grip on the story.

The thing is slipperier than a wet penguin.

I find reassurance in the fact that this isn’t the first time I’ve faced this problem. Nor am I the only creative person who’s faced it.

So I wait expectantly and excitedly for that moment when this slippery penguin-of-a-story dries off and stops hopping around long enough for me to grab it by the wings. (Just to be clear, my story has nothing to do with penguins.)

Writing is one of those ticksy endeavors where it’s your best, most exciting friend one minute, your worst enemy the next.

When everything is moving and shaking and jelling and the words are gushing from my fingertips?

Best. Feeling. Ever. Completely euphoric. (Cue Titanic music and picture me with my arms spread wide, shouting, “I’m king of the world!”)

When everything is stagnant and empty and uncooperative and the blank screen is giving me heart palpitations?

Not quite so warm and fuzzy. (An issue I address on my Q&A page.)

Thankfully, the solution is like a water bubble. I know it’s down there, working it’s way up. It’s just a matter of how long it’s going to take break the surface.

Let’s Talk: What do YOU do when you’re stuck? Are there things in life that you love and loathe all at the same time?

Guess what surfaced exactly 45 minutes after writing this post? The bubble! I figured out the climax of the story! This is how I’m feeling inside (oh how I love my alma mater and their choice of 90’s music):

16 thoughts on “Waiting for the Bubble to Surface (Otherwise Known as Writer’s Block)

  1. So glad your needed plot point came bubbling to the surface, Katie. When I first began reading your post, I was gonna suggest taking Wendy up on her offer, but saw in the comments you already did. πŸ™‚

  2. I do all kinds of things to get unstuck! I’ll read a few pages of a trusty book on the writing craft. I’ll make a top 10 list of ways I can make the problem go away. I’ll chat with a writer friend. And sometimes, I’ll just take a walk. πŸ™‚

    So glad to hear you’re unblocked!

  3. When I’m stuck I have to take a break from everything writing and just be. Thankful your bubble surfaced, Katie.

  4. I call or email my CP and say HELP!!!!! πŸ™‚

    We email back and forth with our thoughts and then I think about it some more. Just did this the other day with a problem I’d come across with my current wip.

  5. To break the block, I talk to someone–usually my daughter. She’s great at pulling on story threads to see what unravels. I think, for me, the solution to breaking a block is for someone to ask me the right question.

  6. I go for a walk.
    I talk it out with another writer.
    I talk to myself. Yep. I really do.
    I Pray in Color. (Wonderful exercise.)

    1. Katie Ganshert

      I need to know what praying in color is, Beth. Totally intrigued!

  7. Usually a “block” is merely just my creative mind hasn’t figured out yet how to continue the scene or dialogue or whatever it is. So I’ll work on a different scene, or I might do a writing prompt or exercise to help me. Reading a good book always helps, too!

  8. Congrats on that bubble surfacing! What a relief, huh? When I have those times I spend time on my face, or in my prayer chair with my Bible in the wee hours of the morning (I consider 5am a wee hour) and just talk it all out with God, have a pen and paper ready, then let my mind drift. SO often before I get out of that chair the answer will drop into my head. Other times it takes a few days. But there’s always some other project in another stage to work on during that time. And I’ll also turn to one of my favorite writers or favorite books to help get the creative juices flowing again. I used to hop in the car and go for a drive in the country, a few dollars a gallon ago. πŸ™‚

    1. Katie Ganshert

      Lori – it’s awesome to see God in action. Yesterday I went to him with my plugged brain problem and He totally delivered. Love that.

  9. I call or email myself (see my blog post today). We are riding the same wave, sister!
    ~ Wendy

    1. Katie Ganshert

      You helped get things moving and shaking, Wendy! So appreciate you!

  10. Oh how fun (and so much red, EVERYWHERE)! I love the Jump Around song, too. Glad you were able to break through for your synopsis. The highs and lows of writing often make me feel like a head case, but I often forget about the lows once the highs come back around (not unlike birthing and raising kids). πŸ™‚

    1. Katie Ganshert

      doesn’t that make you want to go to a college football game?

      You’re so right. As soon as the high time comes, I completely forget about the agony and torture of the low writing times!

  11. Yay for the break in your writer’s block!

    This is going to sound silly, but when I’m feeling stuck, I watch an episode of Gilmore Girls. I know, I know…silly. But I’m telling you, there is something about the fast dialogue that gets my brain gelling…it never fails to help. And, well, prayer and chatting things out with my CP or MBT pals helps too. πŸ™‚

    1. Katie Ganshert

      Gotta love writer friends! Wendy Miller and Jeannie Campbell and my non-writing friend Melissa really helped me. Sometimes, even if the person doesn’t have an answer, it just helps to talk through problems out loud.


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