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Friday, May 1, 2015

Dear Blocked Writer

Dear Blocked Writer,

Writer's Block is a condition in which a writer loses the ability to write new work. Every writer at one time or another suffers from writer’s block. Some writers may experience it a couple of times a week. Some writers may have writer’s block for months. No matter how long it lasts or how often it comes, writer’s block is a pain in the boo-thang! :P
Causes of Writer's Block: 
1. Creative problems within the work.
2. Lack of inspiration
3. Distraction/procrastination
4. The project is too big for the writer.
5. Physical illness
6. Depression
7. Stress (of any kind)
8. Pressure to write or create a best-seller.
9. Feeling of failure
There is no sure-fire way to break out of writer's block, but here are ten tactics that have helped me over the years:

1.     Read the last chapter or two that you wrote. Sometimes going over your work will get you back into the groove of your book and will motivate you to continue from where you left off.

2.     Write a song or poem for a specific scene in your book to help you tap into the emotion you need to write it. In the end, you may be able to use whole verses from the song or poem you created in your book. That’s a double bonus!

Image from Wikipedia

3.      If you are good with a pencil, draw a picture to help your creative juices flow. This technique is great to help release an image trapped within your mind. Once you get it down on paper in one form, you can do it again in another.

4.      Listen to music. Find songs that hold the same emotion and have the same theme as the event in your book. Then plug in your headphones and let the music call to your muse.

5.      Watch a movie with scenes similar to what you have to write.

6.      Read a book (or five) in the same genre as yours.

7.      Discuss your book with a trusted person to bounce ideas off them. You may be surprised at how helpful a second party can be.

8.      Motivate yourself. Say, “I don’t have writer's block. Nothing can stop me from writing! I can do it!!” 

9.      Step away from your book for awhile:

- Take a nap
- Go for a walk or run
- Work in the garden
- Take a long bath
- Wash the dishes

   Then go back to your book when you’re done and try again.

10.     If all else fails, skip the part you are struggling with and start writing a different  chapter/event instead. Just don’t forget to go back to it later.


Don't give yourself too much to work on. Writing a novel is a big job, but if you keep looking at it as writing four hundred pages (or so), you will shut down. Whenever you sit down to write, don't focus on writing your novel. Worry about the next paragraph that you have to write, not the next chapter. Don't even aim to fill the whole white page. Go sentence by sentence. Or as Anne Lamott would say, "Take it bird by bird."

QUESTION: How do you defeat writer’s block?

Have a writing-related question? Leave a comment and I may turn it into a post right here!

Author of Hurricane Crimes, 30 Seconds, Ghost of Death, and Witch of Death. Blogger. Reader. Auntie. Vegetarian. Cat Lover.


Misha Gerrick said...

Great tips. Usually, I have a back-up project that I'll work on until the "blocked" feeling goes away.

Sometimes, though, I can't write anything, usually due to stress. During which time I kick back and catch up on art and reading.

Liza said...

These are all good ideas and most have worked for me (except for the pencil part...trying to draw a scene might block me up for good!!😊).

dolorah said...

I'm in 7 and 9 right now - have been for a couple years. Occasionally I edit one of the unfinished projects. I'm afraid I've just lost interest in writing overall. Maybe when my life settles into some sense of normalcy I'll feel like it again.

Good tips and tools :)

Liz A. said...

I was stuck on my current chapter, so I took it to my writers group. They gave me some good suggestions and I caught my second wind...

Bushman said...

I get it all the time. Mostly because I have so much other stuff going on and I am just too dang tired. If I sit down I will fall asleep. When I do get stuck I will start writing something new in the book, some fun chapter or silly scene, perhaps a sad scene. The emotional ones will get my gun firing again.

Good post, thank you.

Chrys Fey said...

@Misha, having a back-up project is a good idea. I do the same thing. I can't believe I forgot to add that!

@Liza, oh dear, we don't want that to happen!

@Dolorah, I hope your life settles into some normalcy soon. I hate to hear you've been block for so long. :(

@Liz, writer's groups can be very helpful. A second opinion can make all the difference.

@Jeff, I know what you mean. Emotional scenes are the best to get our creatives juices flowing.

Thanks for commenting everyone! Sorry I'm so late at checking back in.