Read these 13 Un-Blocking Writers Block Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Writer tips and hundreds of other topics.
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you just don't feel like writing. Don't kick yourself over it. Take a break and read a novel. Don't give up entirely, but use this time to see how other authors in your genre write.
One of the greatest ways to learn to write is to READ, READ, READ. When writer's block hits, take time to learn.
Writers are often surrounded by people who don't understand their need to write. Find a critique group or a writing list on-line, to discuss issues that are important to you. Find others to talk to who are positive about writing, rather than damaging through negative reinforcement. As wonderful as family and friends can be, they often are your worst support group for writing.
Wake up that mind with a writing exercise. Pick a random word and write a poem or short prose piece using that word. This may have nothing to do with the writing you need to do. But writing exercises will often wake up your mind, allowing you to focus back on the work at hand. And as an extra bonus, the short poems may be publishable as well.
Sometimes we need to write, even when we don't feel in the mood. Set the clock for ten minutes and promise yourself that you will not get up for any reason during that time.
At the end of ten minutes, if you don't feel like writing, give yourself a break. But go back to it again in a while, and try writing again for ten minutes.
Most people find that once they start writing, they don't need to set the clock to continue writing. Or if they do, they set it again for only ten minutes. This allows you to focus on your writing, but not waste any time if you truly do not feel that you can concentrate on your character's world.
Sometimes you need to write, even when you don't feel in the mood. Set yourself a timer and promise yourself you will stay in that chair until the timer goes off. You may write trash. But you may also get a paragraph or a page that is pure gold. Forcing yourself to work through a bad mood can often lead to better work habits and a more consistent writing schedule. Remember, even one good sentence is more than you had before you sat down.
When no one is around to give you kudos, give them to yourself. You know how hard it was to write that paragraph. You fought over each line revised. If no one is around to congratulate you, celebrate yourself. Take a bubble bath, buy yourself a new outfit or make yourself a pot of green tea. You deserve it.
Have you ever taken tally of how many distractions interrupt your writing time? Many professional writers recommend that you take the phone off the hook, unplug the TV from the wall, turn off the radio and lock the door when you write. Distractions interrupt the mind, shifting you from imagination to the reality around you. It takes time to shift back and forth between worlds. Distractions lead to wasted time, and wasted time leads to frustration. How can we write when we are frustrated? Make sure your writing time, is time uninterrupted.
Most writers will tell you that you need to write every day. But some days you stare at a blank paper forever. Set yourself a minimum word limit. You cannot get out of the chair until you have written 100 words, or 500 words or 1,000 words.
This may sound difficult, but remember, 100 words is only a fat paragraph; 500 words is about a page and a half of typing and 1,000 is only about three pages, or a third of a chapter. But by getting these limits written every day, you could have a novel written and rewritten in six months.
Join an exercise/critique group. They often have short exercises that you can use as a jumping off point for the day. By the time you finish the poem or short fictional piece, your mind is ready to focus on the longer work you intended to write.
Very often these exercises have the additional benefit of being publishable on their own, or leading you in a whole new direction for another article or novel.
Critique groups learn your style of writing, and will point out what areas you need to work on. By seeing a pattern in your work, you are better able to find ways to rewrite those sections, and to avoid these problems next time.
Set a timer for ten minutes. Without thinking about what to write, put the pen to paper and begin writing whatever comes to mind. Do not read over the pages until the timer goes off. Do not try to connect the thoughts. Let your pen flow freely, writing whatever comes to mind. When you are done, read over the pages you have written. Often what started out as a random thought, turns into an idea worth examining further.
Writing Buddies are fellow writers who will listen to you when you have the blues, and encourage you to get back on the ball and finish the story when you are procrastinating. Being accountable to a writing buddy helps you to be encouraging about writing, even when you don't feel encouraged. And have you ever tried to tell a fellow writer that you haven't written a thing for a month? You will never hear the end of it. Writing Buddies make sure that you keep on track of your goals, and find ways to encourage you through the dark moments while cheering for you when you accomplish something, no matter how small.
Sometimes, just looking at your writer's table or desk is depressing. You don't want to spend another morning not writing. Take a notebook and pen and find another place to go. Many people like the busy pace of a local cafe or restaurant. J.K. Rowling, the Harry Potter writer went to a restaurant every day to write and drink tea while her daughter napped. If you need a quieter spot, try the library. They often have computers for you to work on as well. Sometimes, just a change of scenery can be enough to help you write again.
When we exercise, we release endorphins, that chemical that makes us feel good. Endorphins are also released when we are creating something we enjoy. So take a walk, use those endorphins to help you think of what you will do next in your novel. You can create anywhere, it doesn't have to be in front of the computer or legal pad. Walk, exercise and plan out that story for when you can sit down and type.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|