I'm in the throes of working on the first draft of my new book. I had a great idea for this one some time ago, and the members of my writing group agreed (which encouraged me) but I realized, after getting a couple of chapters down on paper, that I didn't know enough about my protagonist to make the story work.
In thinking about this dilemma, I reasoned that I've spent so many years honing the characters of my first novel I just wasn't "comfortable" with these new people I really didn't know. This probably sounds strange to someone who isn't a writer but it's true.
My remedy for this kind of writer's block involved creating a written character backstory for each of the characters I've introduced in the first three chapters. It included their physical characteristics as well as details like education, employment background, living arrangements, lifestyle, personality quirks, and specific life circumstances that occurred which place them in the situation we find them at the start of the novel.
Molding these backstories, I drew from both imagination and real life people, something every writer does. It was fun, but also eye-opening because I suddenly found ways to craft the story that I hadn't previously considered - all based on who these people really were once they took on a "real life feel" for me.
This exercise has given me new interest in this project, and I'm proceeding with abandon now, as eager as I hope the reader will be to see how it all turns out.