Writer’s block is a popular topic on most writing blogs. Is that because the bloggers are “blocked” for thinking up some new topic? Well, maybe that’s a part of it, but the real reason writer’s block is so commonly covered is that it’s something to which all writers can relate. Writer’s block doesn’t discriminate. It hits the most successful and least appreciated authors equally. So rather than trying to avoid the topic and hope it doesn’t happen to you, why not take the opportunity to learn effective coping skills? Because even if you’re not suffering from a creative obstacle right now… we all know writer’s block is always lurking around the corner.
1) Change Your Perception of Writer’s Block
If you are suffering from writer’s block you can feel alone, fearful, frustrated or all of the above. But guess what – you’re not alone. There’s no need to fear writer’s block when it happens to you because it really does happen to every writer. Instead of trying to force your way through the block, look at it differently. You can’t control the block – there is no one “cure” – but you can take the opportunity to exercise other aspects of your creativity. So whether you read a book, take a walk or try some other mental stimulation, don’t waste time trying to make the words come and instead take the opportunity to clear your mind. You’ll be surprised how many ideas will come when you aren’t searching for them!
2) Create Conflict
A surefire way to drive action is creating conflict. Manufacturing a situation that needs resolving compels you to move the story forward. Next time you’re stuck for what comes next, ask yourself “what could possibly go wrong?” or “what’s the worst thing that could happen?” and see how it plays out. Whether or not you decide to keep it in your story, describing the conflict and its fallout will help you look at your plot and characters in new ways.
3) Try a New Medium
Sometimes writer’s block isn’t caused by a lack of ideas, it’s just the inability to find the right words for some vague concept in the back of your mind. Try recording yourself as you describe what you are working on and the problem you’re facing. Alternatively, you can create a word map or other visual representation. Taking the pressure off yourself to write the perfect sentence can allow your to access different parts of your creativity and imagination, and then you can get back to the writing.
4) Move On
We aren’t suggesting that you throw out your work and start fresh, but sometimes it’s a specific passage or plot point causing the block and not the act of writing itself. If you have an idea of how you want a scene to go but just can’t find the right wording for it – that’s ok! Make a few notes about where you want to go and move on to the next section. For example, if you know there will be a first date and by the end of it the people will be in an argument, you don’t necessarily need the details of how they get there just yet. You can write the fallout of the argument before the argument and as you continue to develop the characters you might find a more natural way for the argument to build.
Once you’ve taken a look at our suggestions above, you can put them to use. Check out our 5-Step Plan to Blast Past Writer’s Block and be back at your best in no time. After all, though writer’s block does affect everyone, it’s no laughing matter – just ask the once-great writer Joseph Mitchell!
About Paperblanks: 25 years ago, we created Paperblanks to help keep book heritage alive and vital in our modern age, and to offer an inspiring space for people to express themselves. Thanks for joining us on this journey! For more about Paperblanks, go to our website at paperblanks.com.