You’ve got a great idea for a novel. Scenes practically create themselves because you know your characters so well. Your passion for writing takes over for weeks, maybe even months. It might be some type of disconnect between you and your characters. Maybe they’re not agreeable to doing what your plot has in store for them. It could happen out of the blue, for no apparent reason. But no matter what brought it on, it overwhelms you, and suddenly your brain doesn’t want to work any more.
The first thing you need to do is admit that writing is hard work. When you’re in the groove and everything is flowing, it doesn’t feel like work, much less hard work, but your brain knows it is. And when you overwork it, sometimes it just stops
As with anything that’s been overused, common sense tells us to give the item that’s malfunctioning a break. This can work with our brain too. The old saying, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” hints at this. When we work too much without taking some time to play, we can become dull mentally.
So when you hit a wall in your writing, allow yourself to “play” for a while. It might be a date night with your spouse, a weekend visiting your sister, or a week to do the spring cleaning you’ve been putting off. Or it could be that you need to allow yourself small breaks throughout the week or even on a daily basis. Take an hour a day to go for a refreshing walk. Go out to lunch with a friend once a week.
Even if writing doesn’t seem like hard work to you most of the time, it registers that way in your brain. If you don’t allow yourself to take a break every now and again, your brain will eventually let you know it’s had enough. So when your brain won’t work any more, don’t argue with it! Acknowledge the hard work it’s done and give it time to focus on something else. Then when it’s time to get back to writing, it will be more likely attack the grindstone with passion again.