Writer’s block plagues every writer. It is a right of passage for the serious writer. If you have encountered it, then you know you’re doing something right. Whether you’re writing a novel, a white paper, a memoir, poems, or music, every writer suffers from writer’s block. Here are 6 Tips I have found useful for writer’s block.
1. Shut Down
Distraction is the enemy of the writer. I personally find it difficult to write while other webpages and apps are open. I shut them down–email, Twitter, Facebook, all of it. I turn them off and focus on the task at hand–writing.
2. Have Multiple Projects
Having more than one project that you can focus on is extremely beneficial when faced with writer’s block. You may be tired of writing about a particular character in your novel. Or you may be writing a memoir and you’re finding a certain event in your life is emotionally taxing. That’s fine. Put that project down for the day and move on to another project that you’re pursuing. Joan Axelrod-Contrada, author of fifteen books for young people, attributes her success, at least in part, to having multiple projects underway at any given time. If you’re stuck on one project, put it down for a day and focus on something else.
Always have multiple projects going at once. This will help avoid #writersblock.Click To Tweet
3. Jump Around
There’s a tendency to think that as writer’s we have to write our story the way our readers will read it–from beginning to end– but we don’t have to follow a linear progression. Jump Around. (No, this is not a recommendation stripped directly from 90s hip hop group House of Pain.) If you know your novel needs to get from point A to B, but you’re not quite sure how to get your characters to that point and you’re stuck, don’t worry about it. Move on to point B and come back to fill in the details later. This will provide you with the creative luxury of being able to explore different parts of your story on any given day. It will free you from the burden of being stuck on a particular scene or plot point. You will be heavily editing your writing later on in the process anyway, so you can fill in holes later.
4. Block Off Time to Write
There are always dozens of reasons that keep us from sitting down and writing. Since my wife got pregnant with our two-year old daughter, I have found my writing time has decreased considerably, (as I’m sure you fellow parents can commiserate). I needed to block off time to sit and write. It is small blocks of time–30 minutes to an hour–but it has been necessary for me. Early morning, nap times, or late at night have been my primary writing hours. Even if you don’t have young kids, or a day job, or other time commitments at all, we are all still prone to procrastination. Blocking off time to write forces you to create a writing habit, which will help longterm if you want to take writing seriously.
5. Just Write
Once you have time blocked off, just write. You may be excited and have a creative spark, which makes writing easy. Most often, however, we need to force ourselves to just write. Again, a lot will be changed or tossed out during the editing process. I have pages upon pages from Pieces Like Pottery left on the cutting room floor. But I would have never found the pages of my book that were actually published if I didn’t force myself to just write when I had time blocked off.
Once you have time blocked off, JUST WRITE. The best way to be a #writer is to actually write.Click To Tweet
Sometimes powering through writer’s block is the solution–the old write you’re way out of it philosophy–but often times what is needed is to disconnect from your writing completely. Going for a long walk or socializing with friends can help. If the goal is to “unblock” your creative mojo, though, I find doing something else creative can do the trick. Maybe you like painting, or arts and crafts, or cooking. For me, I enjoy music. I find listening to or playing music is often just what I need to release my creative ideas from the shackles of writer’s block.
Hope these tips help as much as they’ve helped me! Keep writing away, friends! Keep at it and you’ll reach your goals!
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Great tips, Dan! Number three is my usual writing process on any project. 😉
Thanks, Marie. It seems so obvious when you start doing it, but I don’t think many new writers realize it. It’s something that I didn’t quite begin to practice until a number of years into my writing.