5 Ways to Overcome Writer's Block | Guest Post

by - February 10, 2019

Are you a writer who struggles with writer's block? I am.

Today, Bea Williams has written five tips for conquering writer's block.

Keep reading!


. . .

Every writer has experienced it – you pull out your laptop or notebook and sit down to write, but the words just won’t come.

Maybe you stare at your screen, wishing words would come. Or maybe you write a sentence, edit it four times, and then delete the whole thing – because it just doesn’t feel right.

Whatever the cause of the block, being unable to write is a rubbish feeling. And it can keep us from achieving our writing goals for weeks, and months, on end.

So today, I want to share some of the things that help me to get past the inability to write and help me reach my writing goals.


1. EMPLOY WRITING PROMPTS

I love a good writing prompt! Sometimes, I want to write but am not sure what to write – either because I’ve just finished a project, or because none of my current ideas are working out. So, I will seek out a prompt to get my creative juices flowing. Often, even just a single word can get my brain going and ideas flying out onto paper.

A quick Google search will provide a plethora of prompts to browse through. (Just don’t get too carried away and forget about the writing!)

Alternatively, you can create your own prompt list. I like to carry a small notebook in my bag and jot down snippets of conversation and descriptions of interesting people and places. Some of the best prompts come from my family – I’ll sometimes ask my siblings to give me a word in turn until I’ve filled a page, and then come back to those words when I need prompting.

One other prompt I love to use is paint cards (or paint chips). You know those cards you get at DIY shops that are samples of different colours of paint and have those funky names? Those are great for getting my creative juices flowing. Pick up one or two next time you see them and store them away for next time you’re suffering from writer’s block. Then have a shuffle through and see if any of the names inspire you!


2. REREAD YOUR PREVIOUS WRITING

In my experience, this is particularly applicable to novel-writing. But there’s something about reading through a little section of your previous writing that can really get you in the zone and get your creative juices flowing.

Generally, when I sit down to work on a project, I’ll read through the previous page – it reminds me where I left off and exactly what I was writing about, and then helps me to continue quicker by getting me in the zone.

By reading through what you’ve written before you start writing, there hopefully won’t be the chance for you to start feeling like you’ve got writer’s block. Just read a bit of your previous writing, and then jump straight in without hesitating!

3. TRAIN YOURSELF TO WRITE AT ANY TIME

Sometimes, the reason we cannot write is simply because that we have not trained ourselves to be able to write at a random time – and so if we don’t feel super motivated to work on our writing, we just won’t. And, as I’m sure we all know, this can cause chaos with our writing.

But there is a simple way to overcome this, and that is by training yourself to just sit down and put words to paper, no matter how hard it feels.

Think of it this way – if you had an assignment or essay that you had to get done by a certain date, you would have to sit down and work on it. So try setting yourself a date and working towards finishing your project on that day, aiming to work on it bit by bit. Just try your very best to get words on the page – however few you’re able to write that day.

And don’t judge the words too harshly – remember, they are just part of the progress, and you can always come back to them later. Even if you think that they’re awful, keep them in your project and remember that they are a stepping stone to your final goal and can always be improved later.


4. STOP WRITING

I know, it sounds counter-productive. But sometimes, the best thing you can do to overcome writer’s block is to stop trying to write. Chances are, if you do something else for a while, your brain will privately be busy figuring out what needs to happen next to move on your story – or compiling ideas for your next project.

Maybe you really do need a break from writing, and you just need to take an hour or a day – away from it. Things that inspire me and spark my creativity are baking, going for a walk, and reading (especially reading books that mention writing a lot, such as the Emily of New Moon series). They always seem to infect me with the writing bug and inspire me to put words to paper.

Taking breaks from your writing will stop you from getting too tired of your project, and help keep you fresh and full of new ideas.


5. SET GOALS

If you’re somebody who is motivated by goals (and rewards), then this may be a good way to improve on how much you write, and also achieve your writing goals quicker. Setting goals can be incredibly motivating, and I often find that when I set a goal, I’m able to go above and beyond with that project.

Take your writing project and figure out how quickly you want to get it done. Then, break it into chunks. Maybe break it into chapters…or paragraphs…or amounts of words.

Say you wanted to write a 25,000-word novella, and you want the first draft to be done in a month’s time. The easiest way to break it up would be to aim to write 1,000 words a day, for 25 days.

Consider your project and how much time you have, and figure out your plan of action based on that. Then, create a tracker of some sort – preferably something that you can colour in when you complete the day’s writing, in order to give yourself a visual record of your progress – and write away! 

If rewards help you feel motivated, use them! For a smaller project, arrange a treat for yourself when you finish the project (say your favourite pudding, or maybe going to see a movie).

For a larger project, like a novel, set some smaller rewards throughout the process – maybe every time you write 10,000 words, or every week you reach your goals, and then a larger reward at the end.

Remember, your writing is valid – no matter how much or how little of it you are able to do. Every word that you have to say is important, and you should not doubt that. It’s yours, it’s precious, and it is a wonderful thing.

Don’t lose courage, never stop writing, and tell the world what you have to say!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Bea Williams is a writer, poet, and blogger living in England. She is passionate about the written word – whether that’s reading or writing it, and also enjoys photography and baking. When she isn’t reading or working on her latest writing project, she’ll most likely be found hanging out with her family, walking through the countryside surrounding her home, or playing with her cat. You can find more of her writing and work over at her blog – thetreasurewithinblog.wordpress.com.


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