You hit the wall.
That's what runners call it anyway, and I think it's an apt metaphor. Because its an abrupt stop, ramming the momentum you had head on into brick.
It happens to me every few hundred words. I'll get three or four hundred words down and then finish a scene or get pulled away by my wonderfully distracting sister or mindlessly clicking onto Pinterest. Then I'm stuck. The flow stops flowing. (By the way I think minimizing distractions i.e. Pinterest is key to pushing back the wall and something I'm going to try to do better at).
I'm pretty sure it happens this way for everyone. Maybe a lot of you can go a lot further than me without hitting the wall, but it happens eventually, right?
If not--if you never come up against The Wall--please tell me your magic secret? Please???
Anyway. When you get to this point, what do you think is the best thing to do?
The way I see it, there's two options. Either you sit there and push until you've broken through the wall, or you go away and use your mental powers elsewhere until the wall has gone away. Which do you think is the best thing to do?
On the one hand, we are WRITERS DANG IT and WRITERS WRITE and no dumb ol wall is going to stop us. On the other hand, sometimes it is a FREAKING THICK WALL and you don't want the writing to sound forced anyway and its Just. Not. Coming.
After some thought, I think the answer I've come up with is that neither approach will work in every situation. I think sometimes the wall isn't going to go away on its own and you have to push through. Other times no amount of shoving will budge the stupid thing, and you have to take a breather or its going to stay there like a stubborn mule.
The pattern that I think works best for me personally is this: Usually the first wall or two I come to aren't super thick. They're definitely there and they leave me staring blankly for a while, but I can push through and get another few hundred words down. Then a wall will come that really throws me off and I start feeling like my butt is beginning to fuse to the chair anyway so its time for me to at least step out onto the balcony for a while and probably get something to eat. Sometimes it takes until the next day for the wall to go away, and sometimes it still takes a little forcing, but if I make myself sit down the next day and get started, the words will eventually start flowing again.
That's how I've seen it working in my own head. Anybody else have clearer ideas or a better approach? Do you think it's better to push through or take a break?