Writing Wednesday: A 5-Step Plan to Blast Past Writer’s Block

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Writer’s block is one of the most common writing subjects because it happens to every. single. writer. So don’t worry, you’re not alone. There are many ways to help snap yourself out of a creative funk!

Sometimes all you need is a little nudge or new writing prompt, while other cases of writer’s block require major action. Here is our five-step plan to getting past this frustrating experience, with each step taking a little more effort than the previous one.

1) Write about it

If all you can think about is not being able to write, why not write about that? Take a cue from the Coen brothers who famously wrote Barton Fink, a film about a screenwriter suffering from writer’s block, while dealing with their own troubles completing Miller’s Crossing.

2) Put down the pen

If writing really isn’t working, there is no point in getting more frustrated by trying to force it. But putting down the pen doesn’t mean giving up completely. Turn off the lights, turn on to a piece of music and try to visualise what you’re hearing. If music isn’t working for you, throw on a movie or television episode and allow your mind to wander. You may be inspired by where your unfocused creativity takes you.

3) Take a research break

Maybe you’re finding yourself stuck because you are missing that key piece of information to help you keep going. Taking some extra time to research the world of your story may help you unlock a new character, setting or device that will keep your plot advancing.

4) Reread your favourite work

This doesn’t mean selecting a favourite novel written by another author. This means selecting a piece of your own writing to read. Going back over a work that you are particularly proud of can transport you back to the creative energy you were feeling while writing it and help you find that rhythm once again.

5) Take in a new setting

If you’re feeling smothered in your usual writing space, it’s time to get back into the real world. Grab a notebook and go out for the day, writing down the people, noises and even smells that you observe as you take in a new experience.

Even more ideas

The causes of writer’s block can vary, and so it makes sense that there is no one cure that will work for every person and situation. If you are still struggling with writer’s block, check out our previous list of tips or the New York Book Editors’ “Map to Get Out of Writer’s Block.

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