Bittersweet Writer’s Block

you’ve probably had it… Most writers have… It’s writer’s block, that big hunk of something that prevents you from writing what you know you should be writing, while you write something else, go over the laundry list, or chase down the details of what you could be writing, but… You. Are. Not. Writing.

Guess what.

You’re not writing right now, either. And that’s okay, because you need to READ this.

Writer’s Block is Not Real.

Oh, it’s a real pain in the butt, but it isn’t real. There’s nothing stopping you from writing what you know you should be writing. Except you.

writer's blockIf you know what it is you’re supposed to be writing but you aren’t writing that… you need to find a better focus.

You need to find  your topic, prepare your characters (maybe even MEET  your characters), and then set out to write what you’re supposed to write.

The blank page is not the problem.

The keyboard isn’t the problem.

And seriously… All those other things you call distractions are not a problem either.

I’ll tell you why I know this.

I’ve written books surrounded by distractions.

My grandkids, all six of the older ones, can be playing behind me and me working on a deadline… I work. They play. Short of blood and dead bodies (theirs, not the story) I don’t stop writing until I’m done with the scene. I’ve learned to write a scene in five minutes flat.

You can write your scenes in five minutes flat too.

It requires preparation.

So, here’s what you do.

Plan your book into the inth degree.

Here’s the trick to writing scenes – yes, entire scenes in five minutes flat – prepare the book for your actionable writing steps before you start writing.


5 Minute Writer

We call it the Matrix. 

You create a 10 x 10 or 7 x 7 Matrix and write your story based on the sub-title process.

First write ten “chapter headers” that apply to your story. If it’s fiction, or even in most cases non-fiction, you’ll likely write more than ten chapters, but you start with that. Then  under each chapter header, you add ten more sub-headers. Now… You’re into the concept of adding sub-headers for your chapter headings, and you’ll begin to recognize which chapters are “shorter than that” and which ones are “longer than that” within the context of your book.

The really cool thing you’re going to notice as you do this – is that you have more chapters that need to be CHAPTER headers, and you can add those into your basic matrix.

So, when you’re done with your chapter headings, you may have 27 chapters, or 35 chapters. But you’ll have more chapter headers than you thought you might in the beginning. (if you don’t, you’re not breaking down your thought processes)

Let’s go over the breakdown here for a quick second… 

You’ve got 27 chapters, and each chapter has about 10 “sub-headers” to lead you through the chapter. Minimum of 7 per chapter, because you need that many to lead you through the actions in each chapter. There will be about 5 scenes, an intro, and a hook, to keep your reader moving through the chapters. Don’t stall out here, because this is really just the beginning.

Let me show you what that looks like for just one chapter.

Take chapter 17 for instance.

Intro to the story –

Nancy happened across the story of her life. As a writer, she knows there will never be a better story to share with her readers, and she’s captivated the story in the first 17 chapters of the book. But here it is Chapter 17, and she has yet to introduce her villain, showcase his ultimate crime, and set the scene for the next ten chapters. This is the task at hand and before you is the big reveal.

Chapter 17 – Humble Willie Lands on Target
  1. Willie lands the 6 passenger cessna on the tarmac and comes to a stop in front of the round-top most recognize as the airport.
    1. Three people got out of his cessna, slid down the side of the wing and landed on the ground.
    2. More about the tallest of the three exiting the plane. Perhaps backstory?
    3. Discussion between Willie and his passengers. Talk about the last leg of their trip, and why this landing is important.
    4. Willie makes arrangements with the ground crew to fill his tanks, and set him up for the last leg of their trip.
  2. Inside Ginger, the airport mistress meets him and his guests with a fresh pot of coffee on the counter. She motions toward the kitchen and offers food.
    1. She takes orders. Sets up the table.
    2. Food is delivered. Conversation continues.
    3. Willie mentions the last trip where he stopped here.
    4. Ginger reminds him that this is familiar territory, and he’s been here before.
  3. In the corner, Barnie sits with his back to the crowd reading a book on his table.
    1. A cough reminds those in the airport cafe that he’s there.
    2. Scraping chairs alert those who linger over coffee that one is leaving.
    3. All eyes on Barnie as he loads his bags over his shoulder.
  4. Willie’s young guest orders a sandwich and laughs too loud, but nobody seems to mind. The chatter through the airport is friendly banter.
    1.  Discussion turns to the continuum of their flight.
    2. Willie rushes them along. “Let’s get back in the air before nightfall.”
    3. The youngest continues to be a bit louder than necessary, but all are having fun.
  5. Barnie uses his crutch and pushes a chair out of his way, then walks forward with a troubled gate.
    1. His lumbering pace across the room brings silence.
    2. Ginger pours coffee at a nearby table and asks Barnie if he needs anything else.
    3. Barnie jeers at her, then nods, and pushes his way toward the door.
    4. He’s left his money on the table.
    5. All watch as he clears the door, ducking his head to walk through.
    6. He looks back, laughs and takes long strides to his plane.
  6. The crowd in the airport watch him walk across the tarmac to a single engine plane and he climbs into the plane then starts it.
    1. Discussion continues inside the airport.
    2. Coffee is poured.
    3. Meals are served.
  7. As the plane leaves the ground at the end of the runway the crowd inside hears the roaring turmoil he left behind.
    1. First the rumble starts at the back of the room, then like a rip cord the panels of the round top fly away from the frame.
    2. Daylight, wind, noise shudders through the structure as each panel drifts, clatters to the ground.
    3. Inside, everyone ducks and covers. Hiding from the deafening noise of the round top self destructing.
    4. As the dust settles, the last sheets of metal falling.
    5. And the quiet rumble ends.
  8. Silence. Stone. Cold. Silence.
    1. The buzz of a single engine plane flying overhead.
    2. Barnie returned to the scene for one last glimpse as the dust settled on the inhabitants of the airport round top.

And that my friends is what you will write from in your five minute intervals. Each of the above segments, can be scoped out in just five minutes. Most of these ‘sub-headers’ can be written out in about 250 word segments, in five minutes or less.

You Are Not AloneBarnie’s introduction could be the end of the story, but instead, since he’s only just now introduced, it’s a serious twist in the plot. Barnie’s actions, or at least the destruction of the round top, becomes a catalyst for building the story. Although, Barnie is just now introduced to the story, his behaviors, his actions, have happened prior to this in the story – but nobody knows who, until this glimpse of action in Chapter 17.

Notice, Nancy is notoriously not in the scenes of Chapter 17. Her absence has meaning, but you’ll have to figure that out in the story… We’re only delving into Chapter 17. What happens before or after would make a lot of difference about how you’re writing this. If you’ve plotted out your entire book in this manner, your 5 minute segments of writing can literally ALL happen in the time frame of one week. 27 chapters of 38 or more five minute segments…

Think about it.

3 hours and 10 minutes of actual writing time for this chapter.

What if you did that each day for a month?

Would you have a completed book?

Leave a message below and share your writing concept. Could you write a book in five minute segments?

What would happen to your writer’s block if you used this concept?


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