By Indie Authors for Indie Authors.

Tag: how to avoid writer’s block

Adjust Your Mindset

There are times when the thoughts and ideas that we want to write are right there in our mind’s eye, but when we sit down, the words don’t come. We’re not at a loss of what to write, instead we find it painstakingly difficult to get the brilliant concepts in our heads onto the paper. We sit down with great ideas and then nothing comes out, or what does come out pales in comparison to what we wanted to write, so we delete it immediately.

If you’re anything like me, you may be inclined to beat yourself up about poor writing or feel guilty about being unable to execute your ideas. If you’re like me, you’ll think it’s a failure that you can’t find the right words. Don’t be like me though. Let’s be better.


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Instead of thinking in terms of failures and successes, think in terms of results. Why did I produce this result? How can I produce a different one?  This will allow you to remove your emotion, stress and disappointment of the situation, and be able to think more clearly.

 

“There is no such thing as failure. There are only results.” -Tony Robbins. Click To Tweet

 

When I adjust my mindset, and think in terms of results instead of failure, I think more clearly and make more rational decisions.


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Once you’re in an adjusted mindset of focusing on results, take a different approach. If the right words aren’t flowing from your brain onto the paper, one tried and true method to try is writing-prompts. You can find plenty of prompts online, or maybe just randomly pull a book off your shelf and write about the first sentence you read. How about taking a line from a song you like or a conversation you overheard? Or maybe just use the writing the prompt “I have nothing to write about” and write that line over and over until eventually, something will stream out of you. The idea is to keep the pen moving no matter what. And don’t worry if nonsense comes out. Sometimes we need to empty the crammed thoughts that are pent up in our heads to make way for something else to pour out.

Let’s try it:

I have nothing to write about.

I have nothing to write about.

I have nothing to write about.

I have nothing to write about

And neither do you,

But if we sit here long enough

The words will come through

That was unplanned and just using the writing prompt “I have nothing to write about.” Words started to come through my head and find their way onto the paper. Try it on for size the next time the right words aren’t flowing.


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6 Tips for Writer’s Block

Writer's block

 

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

 

6. Decompress

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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