What is writer’s block? Writer’s block is a creative slump that authors experience when they are unable to come up with new material to write. If left unchecked, it can prevent you from writing for days, weeks, or even months. It affects writers at all stages of their careers.
The good news is that there are a plethora of actual strategies for dealing with writer’s block! In the event that you feel as though you’ve hit a brick wall with your writing, you’ve arrived to the correct location. Throughout this piece, we’ll show you ten strategies for breaking through that wall and successfully overcoming writer’s block.
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1. Identify the underlying cause of the problem.
Contrary to popular belief, writer’s block is not a sign that you are a “poor writer”; rather, it is something that practically every writer will experience at some point in their career. However, while the majority of authors have had this experience, the underlying causes can be extremely different for each individual.
So let’s delve a little further and find out why you’re actually stuck. Consider the following questions:
Do I feel under any pressure to be successful and/or to compete with other authors?
Is it possible that I’ve lost sight of what my tale is about or lost interest in where it’s heading?
Do I have a lack of confidence in my own abilities, despite the fact that I’ve written a lot in the past?
Is it possible that I haven’t written in such a long time that I am intimidated by the prospect of doing so?
Is it just that I’m feeling exhausted and run-down?
A distinct solution is available for each of these dilemmas. Example: If you’re struggling to write because of perfectionism, you might try accepting the truth that no one’s first draft is perfect — in which case, method #4 on this list may be quite beneficial to you. Another option is to consult some of the resources listed in #7 if you’re feeling uninspired.
Understanding the underlying causes of writer’s block is the first step toward overcoming it.
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It goes without saying that there is no quick remedy for any of these issues. Understanding the nature of your problem, on the other hand, can assist you in determining which tips are most appropriate for you as you read through our list.
2. Make a list of your favorite books and authors.
What was it that first drew you to the idea of starting a blog? There’s always the option of turning to your favorite book or an author you like for guidance and inspiration. When you find yourself in a rut, returning to these sources can be quite beneficial in rekindling the spark that got you started.
| Read novels if you have writer’s block.
Make a list of your favorite books and authors, and then think about what it is about each of them that you admire. What do they have in common versus what makes them different? Consider specific writing styles or literary devices that you might be able to incorporate into your own work, as well as subjects that you find particularly appealing.
Consider the novel The Great Gatsby: are you drawn to the glitz and glam of 1920s New York as the main character is? Perhaps you’re drawn in by the opulent, larger-than-life characters, or perhaps you’re intrigued by the drama and intrigue that runs throughout the plot. Alternatively, perhaps you admire Nabokov’s literary embellishments – it may be difficult at first, but you could experiment with writing in a similarly elaborate style.
Figure out what it is that you are looking for in the literature you are reading, whatever it may be, and incorporate that into your own work from there. It also serves as an excellent excuse to read even more the next time you’re looking for inspiration.
3. Establish a reliable regimen on What is writer’s block?
According to Twyla Tharp, a well-known author and dancer, “Creativity is a habit.” This may sound paradoxical to some – after all, isn’t creativity something that happens organically and cannot be planned? Isn’t it something that can’t be scheduled? However, the truth is that if you just write when you “feel creative,” you’ll inevitably find yourself in a rut. One of the most effective methods of pushing through is to write on a daily basis.
It’s possible that you already have a writing regimen, but if you’re facing writer’s block, it’s time to shake things up a little! Determine the days and times that are most productive for you – for example, if you are most productive in the mornings, it may be worthwhile to get up half an hour earlier to squeeze in some writing time during the day. Alternatives include scheduling writing sessions on Sunday afternoons when you have no other obligations, if that is more your style.
Whatever days and times you choose, make a point of being consistent. The only way to establish a dependable routine is to commit to attending your scheduled sessions on time! If you give it at least 3-4 weeks, you’ll start to see some genuine improvement.
4. Write it in a sloppy manner at first.
Many writers suffer with perfectionism, which may be particularly crippling during the first draft of a novel. Lauren Hughes, editor at Reedsy, says:
“Writers’ blocks frequently develop as a result of a great deal of strain placed on themselves to sound ‘perfect’ the first time. When writing a draft, one of the best ways to loosen up and have fun again is to give oneself permission to write in an imperfect manner.”
For example, writers often spend hours searching for the most appropriate wording to express a topic. You can avoid this pointless (and block-inducing) exercise by beginning your sentence with “In other words…” and simply expressing what you’re thinking, whether it’s elegant or incoherent. If you want to go back and refine it later, you can use the CTRL+F keyboard shortcut to search for “in other words.”
When it comes to writing, greatness is the enemy of excellent — and a primary source of writer’s block.
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You might also consider the extreme remedy offered by The Most Dangerous Writing App if you’re completely paralyzed. Simply schedule a timed writing session, and if you take more than a few seconds to stop typing, all of your material will be lost. The name of this app speaks for itself — but if you’re desperate to quit overthinking everything you write, this app will undoubtedly do the trick!
5. Enter the story from a new route.
Hughes recommends that you try to see your tale from a different perspective in order to move past a stumbling block. “How would a minor character describe the scene if they were there to witness it?” says the author. “Was that a ‘fly on the wall’ or something else inanimate?” Changing the point of view of your tale (even for a short period of time) is a terrific method to break free from mental shackles and get new knowledge.
To see point of view in action, have a look at this in-depth explanation of what POV is, which includes several instances.
Alternatively, delving further into the past of one of your main characters may provide you with a greater understanding of their motivations – which will, in turn, help you move your story ahead in the right direction. Consider what aspects of your character’s existence might make them feel pleased with their lot in life. What exactly are their objectives? What are they willing to put their lives on the line for in order to attain them? Following the completion of these broad inquiries, you can examine them in any context and ask, “What is their purpose in this particular situation?”. “What action(s) will they take to further their investigation?”
For example, if your protagonist’s primary goal is to save money and relocate, how would they react if their best buddy approached them about taking out a loan? Or what if they got into a new relationship soon before they were about to depart the country?
Various personalities and objectives lead to conflicts that propel your novel forward – in fact, when changing the POV or adding backstory doesn’t work to alleviate writer’s block, jump right into the middle of a fight! So that brings us to our next point…
6. Begin in the middle of the page.
When it comes to creating a story, there is no hard-and-fast rule about starting at the beginning — if you’re more passionate about the middle of the story, then start there! Alternatively, you may already know how you want your tale to conclude and would like to work backward. It doesn’t matter which direction you go, you’ll feel less pressure to make a good impression right away – and by the time you go back to the beginning, you’ll have warmed up!
It’s also a good idea to try outlining your plot in its entirety if you haven’t previously in order to gain a better sense of the larger picture. Although improvising can be entertaining, creating an outline will offer you a much better idea of where your tale is going and may even give you the motivation to keep writing! Not to mention that determining the trajectory of your tale might not only help you resolve your current problem, but it can also help you avoid future problems.
When you start outlining, you’ll discover that “the knowledge that you need to create that subsequent chapter has an uncanny way of just coming up,” according to author Tom Evans. As soon as your brain recognizes the material you’re supposed to write, the chapter begins to flow.” The blueprint in hand, you’ll find it lot easier to put your story together than you otherwise would.
7. Make the most of your toolkit.
Upgrading your tools can assist you overcome writer’s block in the same way that switching to a different scene might. When it comes to writing, there are numerous tools available to assist you with everything from dull word processors to character development and even coming up with ideas for what to write in the first place.
- With the Reedsy Book Editor, you can format your book as you write, and it even has an integrated goal-setting system. It’s completely free to use.
- If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas, the Story Generator, which has one million plot combinations, is a wonderful place to start.
- Alternatively, if you’re working on fleshing out some of your side characters, you may use the Character Name Generator.
8. Come up with something else to write.
It can be beneficial to divert your attention away from your present project and work on something else at times. Please understand that we are not proposing that you abandon your novel and begin a new one; however, taking some time away to write anything different may leave you feeling rejuvenated and may even inspire ideas for your other writing.
By putting together the resources from our previous tip, you might attempt drafting the outline for a storyline that is completely distinct from your main project, or fleshing out the backstory of a random character from the generator (you could utilize the questions from tip number five for guidance!) Check out Reedsy Prompts for over 1,000 short story prompts that will help you get your creative juices flowing if none of these strike your fancy.
9. Do something else besides writing if you’re having writer’s block | do something else if you’re having writers block
Taking a break and mentally “resetting” after hours of sitting at your desk may be quite beneficial before starting a new writing session can be extremely beneficial.
The activities like showering, walking around the block, cooking, and taking care of one’s family are all duties that most people would agree are less difficult than writing a novel — but they may all provide you with time to daydream and find creative connections that you might otherwise miss. Simple as shampoo, rinse, and repeat until you’ve successfully kicked that block out of your life!
Creativity encourages the development of other forms of creativity.
Do you feel as if you require more time away? That isn’t a problem! Look for more creative ideas that can serve as inspiration for you. According to children’s book editor Maria Tunney, one of the most effective methods to get out of a creative rut is to step away from your own work and into someone else’s:
“Go to an exhibition, go to the movie, go to a play, go to a concert, enjoy a nice meal – immerse yourself in wonderful things and your synapses will begin to crackle in a different manner. Snippets of talks, noises, colors, and sensations will infiltrate a space that was before devoid of life. If this is the case, you might be able to return to your own desk with renewed enthusiasm.”
Take into consideration the fact that everyone has to take a vacation from their work from time to time. When you’re burned out, attempting to force words onto a paper will do more harm than good — and taking a break from writing may be just what you need to get the wheels spinning again.
10. Writer’s block is a misconception that should be dispelled.
I don’t think there’s any dispute about it: writing is difficult. If you’ve been working on a project for a period of time ranging from weeks to years, you’re going to become annoyed if you come across a seemingly insurmountable hurdle. In spite of the fact that there is almost always an underlying cause to any problem, there is always a means to cure it – albeit one that may require some time and devotion.
In addition to the strategies outlined above, here are a few mantras to keep in mind as you work to overcome your writer’s block:
“There are no permanent setbacks, only temporary setbacks,” says the author.
As the saying goes, “it makes no difference how slowly you travel as long as you don’t stop.”
“Every great writer has visited this place as well.”
When it comes to overcoming writer’s block, there are no magic tricks or formulas to follow. However, if you incorporate these ten suggestions into your creative arsenal, you’ll be well on your way to putting it to rest!
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