Arts & Entertainment

Combating Writer’s Block and Developing Routines

R.L. Stine

Lesson time 10:54 min

The best way to combat writer’s block is to be well-prepared. Learn the self-discipline, tools, and routines that helped Bob write the Goosebumps series.

R.L. Stine
Teaches Writing for Young Audiences
The Goosebumps author teaches you how to generate ideas, outline a plot, and hook young readers from the first page.

Preview

Everyone asks about writer's block. This is, like, after they say, where do you get your ideas? They say, what do you do about writer's block? And I've never had it, which I think is hardly luck. I think I'm just lucky. I can always sit down and write. Always. Sometimes I know the writing isn't any good. Sometimes I feel like I'm writing uphill, and it's just-- it's not right. It's not right. But I keep going, because I know I'm going to go back and fix it. I can always go back. But you have to just keep going forward. I think what I do to make writing easier, is I divide things up. I don't sit down, and I don't-- I'm not writing. And I have to figure out what my characters look like, or figure out their personality while I'm in the middle of the plot. I start out with a complete list of my characters. What they look like, what their basic personalities are. Then I have my outline. The outline has the beginning of the book, the middle, it's got the ending. I know where I'm going to go. If you have an outline, it's very hard to have writer's block because you know where to go next. And if you're having trouble with one chapter, it's not coming, it's not coming, go on to the next chapter and write that one, and then go back. But I think the real key-- and I worry about writers who don't plan ahead. They don't want to know, they want to-- they want to write spontaneously. And there are a lot of them. But I worry about them and writer's block, because you can reach a point if you haven't planned it out, you can reach a point where you don't know where to go next. But that never happens to me because of the outline. So I would say, the more complete your preparation is, the easier it is to finish the book, and the harder it is to get writer's block. The more preparation you do, the more you're going to be fine when you write the book. I'm like a machine when it comes to writing. And I would hope that other people have the same feeling, and the same-- I'll tell you my routine. And I really recommend this. Maybe not the hours that I do, but to be able to stick to it every day, and to keep at it, and to, like, make it almost like factory work where you're there, you're doing piece work. You're doing it. You're getting it done, you're getting it done. And I hope people who want to be writers-- it's a good thing to aim for, that kind of discipline I think. Or maybe it's crazy. I mean, you'd have to be really crazy to write 300 books, right? I never know. But I'm there every day. And I still, you know, after 25 years of Goosebumps, whatever, I sit down, maybe 9:30 in the morning, and I start to write. I have my outline. I'm all set. I have the outline of the book. I write this book. Every day I write 2,000 words, which is about 10 pages. Everyone used to go by pages. Now in publishing, because of the computer tells you the words, everyone goes by words. And so, Goosebumps books have to be 23,000 words. But I set a goal for myself eve...


About the Instructor

Award-winning novelist R.L. Stine wrote jokes and funny stories for 20 years before he switched gears and became a horror-writing legend. Since then, the author of the Goosebumps and Fear Street series has sold more than 400 million copies. In his first-ever online writing class, Bob takes the fear out of crafting fiction. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, you’ll learn new ways to conquer writer’s block, develop plots, and build nail-biting suspense that will thrill young readers.