Welcome to the Advice Swap!

Hi everyone,

As we hope you all know, the goal of the SYTYCW Blog is to provide top-quality writing advice for romance authors. We have great contributions from authors and editors, but we’ve also been totally bowled over by some of the brilliant suggestions readers have posted in response to these editorial posts! So, we wanted to create a new space for all you aspiring authors to share your own expertise.

Welcome to the SYTYCW Blog’s Advice Swap. We’ll be posting questions about writing, and we want to hear all your amazing thoughts, suggestions and personal insights! We want this to become a valuable online resource for everyone who wants to write romance, and we can’t wait to see what pearls of wisdom you’ve got to share.

And here’s our very first topic…

If you’ve ever experienced writer’s block, what helped you work through it?


We know everyone has their own experiences of writing romance – so share your unique tips, stories and solutions in the comments section below!

10 replies on “Welcome to the Advice Swap!”

Hey! I like this idea.
Not sure if I’ll be of any help, but I tend to suffer my worst writer’s block when I’m between projects.
So it’s often. But because I suffer from doubt a lot, I’ve found ways to squash it.

1. Flash fiction.
Anything that gets the writing going/flowing as long as it’s not super long and I can do it in one sitting.

2. Prompts.
Kinda goes with the idea above. I like prompts because I don’t have to really think about the plot if I don’t want to, so I can write more freely. Without worrying about the end result of the story (like sending it off to Harlequin).

3. Find something you love to do…and do it!
For me that’s watching movies and catching up on (a lot!) of great TV. I also love to listen to music, drool at Kdrama heroes, and art journal. And I find reading is a cure-all for getting the voices going in my head.

I’m sure there’s more, but these are the ones I’ve been using the last week to get my unstuck and on board the happy writing bandwagon.

I should add, because I’m also facing this now, if you’re stuck in your current WIP consider going back and re-reading the last scene(s).

Usually I find the problem happened way back and it’s only causing me a headache at my current spot in the draft.

If you can’t SEE the problem yourself, and you’re super comfortable, trust your baby to friends and family who can take a more objective stance. If you’ve got yourself a CP, now’s the time to call them up. 🙂

If you’re CP-less, I found Goodreads is a spot to connect with beta readers (and I think CPs too).

Hope this helps! ^^

I work on two stories at once. When one gets emotionally overwhelming or exhausting, I switch to the other and keep on writing.

Glad to hear working on two projects is helpful. I’ve been thinking about trying it. What I’ve found helpful is reading ( or listening on audible) a writing craft book. I always seem to find something in there that helps me figure out what I’m missing or a new approach to my process.

The writing two stories at once seems to work best if they are nothing alike. Right now, one is a Time Travel and the other is Contemporary.

When writer’s block hits, you have to ask yourself, is it the story or is it me? Sometimes block is really because we’ve reached the part of the book where the writing became work. Sadly, this is 90% of the time, and the only cure is to push on through. Of course, if you’re blocked because there’s a problem with the book, that’s different. But usually that kind of block clears up much faster.

Agreed. I’ve seen two major roadblocks in myself and others. 1. The writer just doesn’t want to emotionally go where the characters must go in order to make the story. 2. Story Structure. I don’t come by this one naturally, so having the monomyth or Blake Snyder’s Beat Sheet handy empowers me to realize, “Oh, I forgot about the Catalyst, no wonder I can’t budge this rock.”

I go on a walk, do dishes, garden, or do something completely unrelated to the printed word so I can clear my mind. Oftentimes, this physical activity will get my brain flowing and I’m raring to get back to the keyboard.

I also spend time on backstories of the characters. Sometimes, knowing the motivation and history can help me decide where the character is going or what he/she would do based on his/her past.

I also try to work on more than one project at a time. Not that I write two books at once, but I will brainstorm my time line for the next book while writing the current one. Sometimes an idea or scene pops up that will work great in my current work.

I have experienced writer’s block. What helps me is my cell phone. I still write at my desk, but more and more, I grab my phone to write. I take it everywhere, anyway, and I can write in the bits of time that come up. This adds up to a surprising number of words, a lot more than when I sat down to write.
Waiting to pick up my husband at the park and ride? Not a problem, sweetie, not if I can write 50 words on my phone while I’m sitting there.
Agatha Christie’s fictional character Miss Marple, observed that “there is a great deal of wickedness in village life.” That parking lot has a lot of drama and has given me some of my best ideas. I note them on my phone and use them when I’m stuck.
“Wait, what, you want to go? Can’t you give me a couple more minutes?”
Score a half point for me. WB can get lost.

After reading all of the comments, I agree with all of them that they do work. It is whatever is blocking the writer that makes a difference in what works to remove that block and get flowing again. Sometimes I walk away, sometimes I write the “dumb part” anyway with plans to go back and revise. There are times when rereading the previous pages helps, and times when burying myself in research helps too — that is inspirational for me. Also, listening to my favorite romantic tunes helps me get back in the mood to write romance. I love to garden so that helps. Just taking a day off from everything and chilling with the kids or grandkids can not only give you ideas but help refocus your thoughts. I think the writer needs to determine why they are blocked and go from there. If you lose interest in one story, start another story. I always have more than two stories going at a time in different stages, different genres. One thing that doesn’t work for me is to read romance. I avoid that because it takes me away from what I am thinking/plotting. Guess it boils down to do what works for you. Try all of the above and see what happens. if nothing else, you’ll have an interesting day. 🙂

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