Staring at the computer screen, fingers hovered over the keys, hesitating. You want to write something, but won't do it. Maybe you're sitting with a notepad/piece of paper/random napkin, chewing on the end of a pencil to the point you've almost eaten it. You know what you want to say but can't find the perfect words. So you write nothing. Minutes, even hours go by, and that page is still blank.
You're stuck. At that point, you feel like it can't even be called "writer's block" because you haven't written anything yet and have begun to wonder if it will ever happen. Ever.
Again, we've all been there.
My advice to you is this- write SOMETHING down. Anything. Take those jumbled up thoughts that really don't make any sense to anyone but you and get them out of your brain. It doesn't matter that it doesn't make sense, because you are the only one that will see it. It can be garbage and no one will know. Let. It. Suck.
Really think about that for a minute. That mess is yours, and yours alone. It's okay that you may trash it all, because here's the good news- that's what editing is for. Even this blog post started out as a rough draft that later got tweaked, deleted, rewritten, and improved. Well, I hope it's been improved.
When I was writing An Unusual Path, I wrote it in large chunks that were completely out of order. I knew what I wanted to happen throughout the story, and was inspired by different sections at different times. It's a strategy that works really well for me, and one I'm using on my current project. Putting my first beginning-to-end draft of An Unusual Path was a bit like putting a puzzle together, placing each piece where it belonged. I then waited two weeks to read it cover to cover.
Yes, two weeks.
I needed to get my brain out of it for a while so I could look at it with fresh eyes. I printed it out, clipped the pages instead of stapling so I could move them around easily, and read it in one sitting while flying direct from Washington DC to Honolulu. During that VERY LONG flight, I wrote all over nearly every page. Sometimes it was simply finding a better way to say something, others it was realizing a more descriptive way to help the reader picture what was happening. On a few pages I simply wrote, "needs something more here", and that was okay. I could come back to it.
The number of people who have seen those pages? One. Me. It's okay that they were far from perfect, because they were incredibly useful. The story made huge leaps and bounds during that trip, and I needed that. It wasn't until two weeks after that when I sat down and really made all of those edits, and then again had fresh eyes looking at all of it, edits and all.
Your perfect words are in there somewhere, I promise. They are just waiting to come out, and it could be that your first draft needs to be written just to get the junk out of the way. Spending all of your time an energy spinning over the same three sentences is stopping anything new from happening. Get that mess out of there!
Don't be afraid to give yourself a break. How many of us have thrown our hands up in frustration and walked away, only to suddenly figure it out hours, sometimes days later? I know I have, and I'm willing to bet I'm not alone. Something as simple as closing the laptop and going for a walk can do wonders for a clogged brain. Sleep on it, go for a run, whatever it takes to clear your brain. Go and do it, then come back ready to write.
You may be amazed at what comes out.