Let me set the scene: I wrote 9,000 words of my second novel in the first week, followed by 3,000 words in the second. I slowed you may say...or perhaps it was a block? Especially so, considering that the week after I wrote 5,000 words in just three days.
Firstly, I have to confess that the 3,000 words wasn't actually writer's block...it was just me being lazy—taking a break. But sometimes you just have to take a break to refresh your creativity.
Although pounding out 9,000 words in a week part-time was a great achievement, the lesson to me was that keeping any kind of progress is a great achievement. I have to remind myself that I'm not in a word-count competition.
Returning to my writer's block experience: I actually hit it at the end of the 3,000 words. I got to a point in my story where I just couldn't write any further. My scene was outlined and I wrote the words, but then it just stopped coming. I planned to write at least four pages for that scene but I only managed two.
Here's what I did next.
First, I went back over the scene and edited it. I hoped by doing this it would re-inspire me or re-immerse me back into the scene such that the words would naturally return. Nope—that didn't work.
The next thing I tried was to skip the scene altogether and write the next scene. I just said to myself that I would push on and return to it later. It worked. I started a fresh scene and the words just started pouring back into me. As I said before, I produced 5,000 words part-time in just three days. I found myself unable to stop, the dialogue and description just flowed.
I returned back to the previous scene and found that what I had written actually contained sufficient information for the reader. Maybe I was trying to expand the scene because of some artificial quota I had created. I decided that I would return to this scene in my re-edit of the full manuscript, and weigh the scene in light of the full story.
I'm sure some of you are asking: What happens if I can't even put pen to paper?
Well, the above approach is actually just a variation of what I do in those instances. Let me explain.
When I found myself unable to even start writing—ugh, the dreaded blank screen—I just wrote crap. Yes, you heard me write...oops right. As the add goes, just do it. Just write it.
You know you can always edit it later, delete it, keep it—whatever. The trick to pushing through writer's block is to Just write anything down. And write the words as if you don't care how it reads.
An interesting thing happens: the words starts pouring back into you after a few paragraphs.
When I faced those types of blocks, I would return to the "crap" later and re-edit them. Sometimes the crap was actually crap and at other times it was worth keeping, after some editing.
If you've created a good outline, another trick is to just write the dialogue. That may pull you into the flow of the scene.
To summarise: my advice for writer's block is to just write. The act of writing will remove writer's block.