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A Word A Day Keeps The Writer's Block Away

Updated on September 5, 2014

Haunted By Writer's Block

Writer’s block is part of reality for most who jot down parts of their lives only to share it with the world. This is the unavoidable hell that we all face at one time or another. Though when that occurs don’t fret or waste time trying to push out some ill-fated words. Instead find joy in something else.

Nothing is worse than trying to create something out of nothing when there is a lack of substance. Rather than write through a writer’s block try taking up reading. Oddly enough, the exact opposite of writing is reading. What is the worst that can happen from reading anyway? Inspiration, additional knowledge or something greater. Well then that isn’t too bad. Stop forcing it. It will come naturally.

Quite often I find my next idea to write by just walking around aimlessly in the world. That is time well spent, or at least I hope. I have never found the joy in just writing and getting over the block. I find it much more beneficial to change my train of thought. Just think for a moment, when you are anxious about a big upcoming event does the anxiety go away by thinking about it or by doing something else. What a revelation. Did you know that writer’s block is frequently linked to anxiety. So forcing the writing is really counterproductive and plain out silly.

As I said above, try reading instead. Look for something similar to what you are writing or look for something that may influence a character or scene.


Other New Word Sources

  • Dictionary - old fashion or electronic
  • Television - great source of words if listening
  • Reading - see how other writers are using their words
  • Billboards - recognize what is flashy and attention grabbing
  • Radio - listen to others word choices

Pick Up A Dictionary

What am I really talking about when I say read the dictionary. Well that is quite simple, read the dictionary. Where else will knowledge be acquired. Remember the days when dictionaries were printed and in every classroom and on everyone’s book shelves. Well yes quite possibly I am giving away my age but aside from that wrinkled fact in the days of yesteryear people read the dictionary. So fast forward a bit, there are truly no excuses today as dictionaries are downloadable on every late and great smart phone.

So then you decide to pick up the dictionary, no what? Try to challenge yourself. Read one word per day in the dictionary. Look at the definition and how it is used in a sentence. A cool trick could be to start at the beginning of the dictionary and work your way through. Only focus on unfamiliar words or ones that you don’t commonly use. Once you find the definition and sentence use now look at the thesaurus function so that you can examine the interchangeability of the word.

Just to play fair I thought I would add a word from the word of the day function found on my android device’s dictionary download.

My word of the day: curlicue

Definition: an ornamental, fancy curl or twist, as in a signature.

Sentence: She wrote her name in fancy curlicue lettering.

Thesaurus: corkscrew, swirl, contortion, twist

Though the daily word was familiar I do not commonly use that word in my daily writing. Using this function is a great way of tapping into that huge memory bank we call a brain and retrieve lost material. If I were stuck in my writing today, who knows a curlicue could be exactly what I was looking for.

Find a way to incorporate your newly learned word into your daily writing. Yes this exercise or challenge, however you look at it, has purpose. What do we know about practice. Well practice helps to make a habit and habit makes that behavior second nature. I have not found a better way to write but to make a habit and the habit is that much easier when the options are expanded. What is meant by the expansion is a growing vocabulary.


Don’t Bore Your Readers

I know this is not a thought that only lives in my head so I will share it. I have countless times picked up an interesting read or so it appeared but then part way through I lost interest. Don’t do that to yourself or your readers. Readers want to be engaged and feel what the author is conveying. Don’t envision a beautiful horse ranch with blossoms all over the trees and dust rolling through the plains on an early morning but land your reader in a dirt field. That is the power of words, we all must use them and appropriately so. What I am really getting at is changing up things now and again. Let go of some of the formalities and write for goodness sake. Brining you back to the previous point, a dictionary is the gatekeeper to variety and originality.

Have A Bendable Plan

When most writers have the ultimate epiphany that leads them to charismatically send their words of wisdom out to the world, most have a plan. Far too often that plan is dry as day old toast and lacks fulfillment. Many reasons why that may occur. Frequently the story that lacks content is the result of being rushed or the anxiety of a timeline. Creativity and inspiration are free of rigidity. But that is a thought that must be beaten into countless writers. So let go of that perfect plan because it probably wasn’t perfect from the start. Write with inspiration and direction, not a deadline. By increasing your vocabulary with newly learned daily words your writing is guaranteed to sprout new leaves. Growing writers will soon blossom motivation, inspiration and newly found character.

It is funny – writing is truly an art form all its own and many may wonder why. The only solid answer that comes to mind is there is no wrong way of doing it besides getting it done.


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    • mdscoggins profile image

      Michelle Scoggins 3 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Thanks Mel. I will try writing about the block next time and see what materializes, sounds pretty amusing.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 3 years ago from San Diego California

      The best cure for writer's block is just writing. Sometimes I sit down with nary a thought in my head and interesting things just start pouring out. Sometimes writing about the block itself can be interesting. Great hub!

    • mdscoggins profile image

      Michelle Scoggins 3 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Thanks Susan for sharing. I will familiarize myself with exilic. Have a great day :)

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 3 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Helpful resources here. I, too, enjoy the Dictionary app. My word today, "exilic" which I see as I type this isn't in my spell check dictionary. (Now it is.)

    • mdscoggins profile image

      Michelle Scoggins 3 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Thanks Colleen for the response. Great idea - a walk is a fabulous way to get ideas. I find nature helps to expand my minds potential.

    • Colleen Swan profile image

      Colleen Swan 3 years ago from County Durham

      Some great tips. Hopefully I wake up with a new word or an idea around it. I often use the dictionary, but I find a walk in the countryside always inspires me.

    • mdscoggins profile image

      Michelle Scoggins 3 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Thanks SheGetsCreative for stopping by and sharing. I will explore mondegreen today ;)

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 3 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Great tips. I love finding just one word to write about. My word today: mondegreen

    • mdscoggins profile image

      Michelle Scoggins 3 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Thanks tobusiness. Mojo is where its at, wherever you find it :)

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      There are many truths in this article and some great ideas. Strangely, I don't get writers block as such, but I do need to be motivated. Reading other people's work is a good way get the mojo back.

    • DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image

      William Leverne Smith 3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Great thoughts, each useful to someone. Thanks for sharing! ;-)

    • mdscoggins profile image

      Michelle Scoggins 3 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Thanks Billy!! Have a good weekend too :)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm all for any writer increasing their vocabulary. As for writer's block....can't say I've ever experienced it, but I sympathize with those writers who do. Great points made here my friend. Now, go have a great weekend.

    • mdscoggins profile image

      Michelle Scoggins 3 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Thank you Audrey. I think you nailed it - it is an off and on process.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 3 years ago from California

      I go off and on with my muse--but I try to write everyday--and that helps a bit! Thank you!