No, I don't mean forever. There wouldn't be any writers left in the world if we did that. No, I mean, don't stare at your screen or typewriter (for you hipster writers) "trying" to write. Stop. Step away from the computer.
Now, that's all well and good, but how do you get back on track? Well, in my experience writer's block usually comes from an uncertain direction forward. What now? What plot point can I throw in? What's the subplot? How can I move the story forward?
Screaming is a good place to start.
This happened to me on the bus the other day whilst writing Under a Broken Sun II - Mammoth Caves. The hero's group pulled off the main road for the night, into a barn. They split up, some to check out the farm house to see if anyone was alive there, some to get wood. Some stayed in the barn to start a warming fire.
Yeah, I got nothin'
So, what did I do? Well, I happen to have a playlist of songs that are the "soundtrack" to my story. I listen to them in random order, over 150 songs, when I write. When I'm blocked? I stop writing, and start listening.
I closed my eyes (all on the bus, remember), listened to the soundtrack, and put myself in the scene. It's cold. Biting cold. The three men go out to cut wood. So they have axes. They talk about the previous scene. Danger. Need danger. What's dangerous about being in the middle of trees with no electricity and cold? Not hypothermia. To easy to avoid. Not in-fighting, doesn't suit the characters. I watched the movie in my head. And suddenly -
- there was a growling. Slow. Deep. Then another. A guttural harmony.
Block avoided. I won't tell you what happens because then you won't buy the book figuring you already know it all, but suffice to say, I was off and running again.
So to get over your writer's block, stop writing, start listening, start observing. Go into your story. However you can, however you choose to do it, close your eyes, and BE there.
And your story will hug you.