Getting Back to Writing – How to overcome the dreaded block

This is my brain right now:

brick-wall

It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything substantial. I have a list of reasons why, but I’m not going into them today. Rather, I want to look at ways that I can get back into creating words on a regular basis, without it feeling like I’m pulling a bot fly larvae (seriously, don’t click that link if you’re squeamish) out of my gut.

I’ve always told myself that I don’t believe in writer’s block, that discipline and commitment are greater than any imaginary block. Yet here I am, six months since I wrote anything more than a few sentences, and desperately creatively constipated.

So, here they are:

10 Ways to Beat Writer’s Block

1. Set a regular writing time. Whether you write better in the morning or the evening, set aside regular writing time every day. You will train your brain to get into writing gear during that time of the day and it should come easier to you after a few days.

2. Read the writers you love. Refill your well with creative inspiration from the authors who you enjoy reading the most. This will help your brain to spark new ideas, and maybe connect ideas in new and exciting ways.

3. Read good books on writing. Discover the secrets that other successful authors have discovered to help them stick to their craft.

4. Give yourself 5 minutes to write anything. No matter what, just let your fingers go to write down whatever ideas flit through your head.

5. Create reasonable goals. You know yourself better than anybody else. You know what you can reasonably achieve in a day/week/month. Set yourself reasonable goals that you can achieve. Start small, 100 words a day is good enough, and then do your best to achieve them. Starting with smaller goals releases some of the pressure you’re probably putting on yourself.

6. Allow yourself to write badly. Your first draft really can be rough, messy, and poorly structured. It’s okay. Let go of the idea that you’ll write perfectly first-time-every-time, you’ll find the release of pressure helps you relax and enjoy creating.

7. Write out of order. You may find that you’re stuck because the scene you’re working on is…not working. Skip ahead, write a scene that excites you now, and come back to this one in the future. You don’t even have to come back to it. You might be stuck because you’re bored. And if you’re bored, your readers will be too.

8. Use visual idea generators. Mind maps or image boards that capture the visual feeling of your ideas might help unlock inspiration.

9. Change the scenery. Getting away from your everyday writing space might give you new things to look at, and generate new ideas.

10. Look after yourself. You can’t expect your brain to work well if you treat it poorly. Eat properly, exercise, and fill yourself with creative inspiration. The investment in yourself will pay off.

Alright, I hope you found something there to help you kick-start your stalled writing (if you’re stalled, if not, why are you still here?).

Do you have any tricks for uncorking your creative juices? Leave a comment below and let us know!

4 thoughts on “Getting Back to Writing – How to overcome the dreaded block

  1. Thanks Angela. I have been stumbling in the last 2 weeks (not as long as your 6 months!) but it made me feel panicky as I am totally stuck in the middle of my manuscript even though the ideas & plotting are all there. I have started exercising again, which I used to love doing but gave it up to rather concentrate on writing using all my spare time for that! With exercising I am hoping I will have more energy to get back into my routine of writing from 4:30 until 5:30 am every morning during the week, as at the moment I can’t even get out of bed at that time. Also Sundays are left for reading & I don’t focus on writing at all. Its all about getting the balance right.

    1. That’s a very early start, Charmaine. I don’t get up before 5:30, if I can avoid it! I’m way more of a night owl, so I prefer writing at night.

      Going to start tonight with a 150 word goal, can’t go wrong with that right?

  2. My ‘trick’ – sit down and get on with it. I agree with your early comment – there’s no such thing as writer’s block! Not being able to face going back to a scene/section that you can’t get right isn’t ‘writer’s block’, it’s being a big girl’s blouse – just go back and give it another go!!! 😀 You’re absolutely right, you do have to face that some bits of a novel will always be weaker than others, and that it might take until draft 6 or 7 until that section is pubishable.

    I really agree with the reading thing as a spur, too; sometimes, when I’m reading something I love, I get that excited feeling in my chest and have to get back to my WIP!! I do hope your tips are working for you, they’re good ones – and don’t give yourself too much of a hard time; I didn’t write for 9 years at one time. Maybe the time isn’t right for you to be writing and you’ll get back to it when you’re ready. When I got back to it I had 9 years more life experience to draw from 🙂

    1. Thanks Terry! I’ve been focusing on reading, eating right, and exercising. Right now I feel like I’m drowning; my chest hurts and I need to move to get to the surface. So, I think I’m nearly at the point where the words will start to flow again.

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