Goodreads asked M.J. Logan:

How do you deal with writer’s block?

M.J. Logan That Irritating Issue of Writer’s Block!
Since entering the world of writing, I have not only found an activity that is cathartic for me, I have learned a few tricks of the trade to avoid the stumbling blocks that may present along the way. In this day and age of technology, I must admit that I still hand write my manuscript initially, as the goal is to just get my story down. I then go back and tweak the parts where there may be issues. However, I will share with you that this does not stop the highly irritating issue of writer’s block- that many authors experience.
To avoid writer’s block, before I begin writing my manuscript, I construct an outline of the entire book. Yes! This may actually work for you as well! This does not involve a great deal of detail and requires very little time. Just give a brief synopsis of each chapter. You can be as creative, inclusive, or exclusive as you wish to be. The synopsis can include a description of the scene, what is actually taking place (the action), or dialogue as well. If you have your story in your head this works well, if not, then this can also work, because as the story develops in your mind, then you can add little by little to your outline. Once the outline is complete, then there you have it! All you have to do now is go into your outline, and fill in your story! I generally use a table in Microsoft word to accomplish this, but you are welcome to be as creative as you would like. Here is a brief sample of how I construct my outline.

Chapter 1 The scene begins at the castle. The children get into mischief as they continue the search for the magical stone
Chapter 2 The children have located the stone, but the evil wizard is now is pursuit of them in the magical forest
Chapter 3 The Children make it safely back to the school where they share with everyone that the stone has been located
Chapter 4 The Celebration of the resurfacing of the stone is interrupted by the evil wizard and his minions, and a battle ensues
Chapter 5 The evil wizard is defeated. Once again the children are victorious, and it is now time to search for the next magical stone.

I will admit that my outlines are much more elaborate than the above sample, as I do include Chapter titles and dialogue. Each synopsis tends to be at least 3 paragraphs (sometimes much more). However, as the story develops, the chapters tend to grow. I also end up inserting chapters in between. The first book of my series took only one day to get my outline completed, but for my second and third book, the outline took about a week. The payoff for this is that each chapter synopsis makes it much easier to get chapters written with speed with confidence once the outline is complete. Writers block has not been much of a problem for me due to the use of an outline, and when we get those epiphanies or Aha moments, we can easily go to our outline and add any notes, characters, or great ideas that may come into our creative minds. Additionally, most of us will inevitably change parts of the story that existed in the original outline. This is easily edited. Just go to the outline and insert your changes. However, I recommend that you save the changes under a new date and document title as you can always use elements from your past outlines that you did not use, in a future book or series.
Utilizing this technique has allowed me to complete an entire rough draft of a manuscript in as little as three months, and to be honest I am ashamed to admit, but has been in addition to some procrastination on my part. Furthermore, there have been times when a great idea for a future series has popped into my head, and yes, I have outlined it, and it is waiting to be written! However! It is my hope that this bit of advice will help those of you who often find yourselves faced with that irritating issue of writer’s block!
M.J. Logan

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