All writers struggle with writer’s block from time to time.
It happens to every writer, and it’s easy to overcome if you take a few concrete steps on a daily basis.
We get stuck in the middle of our novels. We lose our muse and don’t feel like writing. We stare at the computer screen and no words come to mind. Your head feels stuck.
It can really be frustrating for a writer to feel this way. After more than 30 years of writing, I can honestly say that I have a few tricks up my sleeve to deal with writer’s block. I will share a few of these tips with you in this article.
Here are ten powerful ways for you to get back into the flow of writing if you are experiencing writer’s block.
Step away from whatever you’re writing and do anything that’s creative.
If you paint, write poetry, design images in Photoshop or keep a scrapbook or collage, you can be creative when he hit a dry spot. I love crocheting, so this is what I turn to when my brain runs dry of ideas on how to proceed in my book. The key is to keep exercising the creative part of our brain and eventually, you’ll tap back into the flow of writing.
Do some freewriting.
Spend 15 minutes or more a day writing whatever comes into your head. Ignore punctuation. Just write freely. Allow it to be totally random. You might change subjects many times. You might mix fiction with journaling or vent frustrations. This process trains your brain to tap into the words inside your head and gives them a place to live on your computer screen or journal. Do this for a week, and then return to your writing project.
Move your body.
Dance, practice yoga or do Tai Chi. This may sound funny but when you get your body into flow, your mind usually follows. Meditate and take long, deep breaths. A relaxed mind is more open. An open mind is more imaginative. I will say more about meditation below. You can focus longer when you are in a peaceful state. Sometimes, I step away from writing, do some yoga poses and breathing, and then return to writing in a more creative state.
Turn off the phone and unplug from the internet. Many writers tend to go on the internet and start surfing the net when they feel like they have writer’s block. But this only causes even more difficulty for the writer because their mind becomes even more unfocused.
Instead, carve out some time in your schedule just for writing, at least 3 to 4 hours a day. Ask loved ones to honor your space so that you can write without interruption, or write when everyone in the house is sleeping. Giving yourself time and space to be in solitude is important to stay focused.
Write early in the morning.
When you first wake up, your brain is still in Theta mode, the brainwave patterns that your mind is in when you dream. Usually, my best writing occurs when I get up at 4:00 or 5:00 am. But experiment and see what works best for you.
Write while you sleep.
Your subconscious mind is always problem-solving, even when you’re sleeping. Sometimes when I’m stuck on a chapter, I’ll write for 15 to 30 minutes prior to bedtime. I’ll think about the problem chapter as I fall asleep. The next morning, I usually wake up with a solution to the problem and get back into the flow of writing. I’ll see the scene from a fresh perspective or my characters will say or do things that take my story in an exciting new direction.
Try doing a centering exercise.
Set a timer for 10 minutes. Go into a quiet room where you won’t be disturbed. Close the door and sit down. Loosen any tight clothing. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Breathe into a count of 4, breath out to a count of 4. Take four or five deep breaths. Then become aware of your breath and where you feel it in your body. If it is in your stomach, just gently turn your attention there. Breathe naturally. Stay in this relaxed state until the beeper goes off.
Create a habit of writing.
You may feel that you write best in the morning. If this is the case, try and wake up an hour earlier every morning for a few weeks. Try and establish the habit of writing consistently. This usually really helps a lot with eliminating writer’s block.
Brainstorm ideas in bullet points.
Sometimes, if you brainstorm what you think your problems are in your plot, you will break writer’s block. This is because writing about your writing can help you refocus your energy on one spot and move it forward. This most times works to unblock you.
Write from an outline.
If you are a punster, try to take steps to at least roughly outline your storyline. Then if you get stuck, you can go back to your outline and continue writing the next scene or chapter. Then when you come back to where you feel blocked, you should generate ideas on how to proceed past the block.
When you apply any one of these methods, you’ll find that writer’s block is simply a minor speed bump that you can overcome easily and stay centered in the creative flow. Writer’s block doesn’t have to paralyze you and your overall productivity level. Try not to give it a lot of leverage by following the above steps.
One of the worse difficulties for writers who experience writer’s block is that they are alone. They don’t have anyone to hash out ideas with. Being part of a writer’s community can help a lot.
I will be presenting more time-honored tips on how to overcome writer’s block in my upcoming workshop: Writer’s Block with Irene S. Roth ~ February 5 – March 4 Please join me for this interactive and fun workshop!
In this book, Ms. Roth outlines four seasons of self-development for writers. The four seasons resemble the four seasons of the year and each of them will become a metaphor for each part of a writer’s self-development. I chose the seasons metaphor because a writer has to master a lot of skills and coping mechanisms before she can become the best writer that she can be. After reading this book, the writer will feel much stronger, self-confident, and successful.