How to Overcome Writer’s Block

Writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all. –Charles Bukowski

It happens to every writer.  Your prose has turned to mush, and you want to throw in the towel.  It’s writer’s block.  Every writer struggles with it, but what you do with it is what really matters.

Common causes of writer’s block

The reasons for your block may vary, but some common ones include:

  • Timing: It’s simply not the right time to write. Your ideas may have not fully developed. 
  • Fear: Many writers struggle with being afraid, with putting their ideas (and themselves) out there for everyone to see and critique. Fear is a major reason some writers never become writers.
  • Perfectionism: You want everything to be just right before you ever put pen to paper or touch a keyboard. You try to get it perfect in your head and never do, so you never begin. To help you through this, we created Don’t Hit Publish. It’s a free tool that tells you if your blog post is good enough to publish and also give you tips on how to improve it.
  • A busy schedule: For a lot of us, writing is not our only job. We have children to raise and jobs to go to. We have friends and social lives.  While we try and maintain a healthy work/life balance, it is our writing, which sometimes falls short. 

Writing: it’s an art, not a science.  There is no quick magic formula to overcome the block without putting effort in to trying new techniques.

Here are a few ideas to help you work through your creative roadblock;

  • Go for a walk or exercise gently. Exercising to relax, not necessarily to build muscle, can open up your mind and invite new ideas in.  Yoga is a great way to relax and open your mind.
  • Eliminate distractions; put the to-do-list to the side for an hour and turn off your tv, or phone. Focus your energy on one single sentence, then see if you can do more.
  • Play. (My personal preference is spending time with my kids)
  • Change your environment; move your laptop to a café or another room.
  • Read a book. Nothing gets you writing again like reading a badly written book, or being inspired by a great one.
  • Freewrite.
  • Listen to music.
  • Brew some coffee or bake cookies. The aroma will lift you up!
  • Create a routine. Many famous writers have daily routines to summon the muse.
  • Spend time with someone who makes you feel good.
  • Brainstorm ideas in bullet points.
  • Read some inspiring quotes to get you started.
  • Read back on the work you have already written.

The possibilities are endless, but movement is critical. You need to generate momentum to get back on track.

Once you start heading in a direction, it’s easier to pick up speed. And before you know it, your block will be a distant memory and you’ll be writing again.

The fail-proof solution

If you’re still not satisfied, you have one last resort, an ace up your sleeve. The silver bullet solution. The fail-proof way to overcome writer’s block is one you already know. In fact, you’ve been avoiding it this whole time, because it’s precisely what you don’t want to hear: just write.

Start somewhere, anywhere. Write a few lines. Say anything. And see what happens. Don’t think about it too much or make any fancy announcements.  It doesn’t need to be eloquent or presentable; it just needs to be written.

Write for the joy of writing. Because you can’t not do it. Don’t try to say or produce anything; just get some words on paper, now. No excuses or justifications. You can write. Don’t make it harder than it has to be. Just type a few words.  Then you have something to work on.  You can tweak from there.

If you do this, you’ll get past the hump. I promise. The difference between professional writers and amateurs is this: Both encounter blocks, but one pushes through while the other remains paralyzed.

You can do this.  Just write.

Listen to: Overcome Writers Block Podcast


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