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Now What? Fighting Writer's Block

Updated on March 20, 2011

"There's Halibut On This Beach That Can Write Better Than Me!"

There are as many “conventional wisdom” ways to break through writer's block as there are old wives tales. Billy Crystal fans will know that “there's halibut on this beach that can write better than me!” This is a selection of the best ones that have been proven to work with at least some writers. Pick one or two that work for you. Don't try to do them all as you'll end up in the looney bin.

Change the plan: Introduce a new character based on the guy or girl who jilted you at the Senior Prom. Make sure that they meet a very painful and messy death.

Create something different: You can recharge your creativity by creating in another medium. Go take photos, trim your bonsai or make the perfect souffle!

Get a randomizer: Download a word randomizer and let 'er rip. It will produce gobbledigook, and that might be just what you need.

Get naked: You'd be surprised how much freer you'll feel. Remember to sit on a towel. And don't try this at the office or Starbucks.

Get off the damn web: Unplug your net connection. You don't need the temptation to google your name again.

Get outta Dodge: Walk, bicycle, drive, go catch a flick. Think about kittens knitting mittens. Take a pen and paper along. You might think of something down by the park.

Have a bath: Half an hour playing with your rubber duckie in the tub will distract and relax you.

Have a nap: George Washington only slept 90 minutes at a time, several times every 24 hours. It works. He founded a real good country.

Have sex: Nothing blows the cobwebs out better than a couple of good Os. However, your spouse may soon start provoking your writer's block.

Jump ahead: Writing is not necessarily linear. Go to another section or chapter, then maybe work backwards to where you are.

OCD. Learn It. Love It: Circle your chair every 15 minutes on the dot. Change your socks at the top of every hour. Ritualistic behaviour breaks through blockages.

Porn: Need I say more? After all, do you really think the web was created to research polypeptides?

Stop being a masochist: Don't envision your editor whipping you and your publisher lighting his cigar with your contract. Think about things that make you feel empowered and capable, such as how you could put together a better reality show than the two megamoguls Spielberg and Burnett did with their basement-rated embarassment "On The Lot."

Tell it to the hand: Explain what you're trying to achieve to an inanimate object, like your hand or a stuffed bear.

Write dreck: There's always another draft. Make the protagonists from your Civil War romance get abducted by UFOs and taken to colonize Gliese 581c.

Write something pointless: Go post on a forum for retired skinhead lesbian vampire quilters on how to clean "wirgin bluud" out of your flying goose quilt. Your subconscious will get the message that you can actually write something!

Write to absurd rules: The first letter of each sentence has to spell out supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

There is also one Don't. Don't drink or do drugs. You might think that it's sparking your creativity, but all it's really doing is dumbing you down. And yes, I know that Bowie, Hendrix and Clapton could never have created that music without heroin, and I don't care!


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    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      11 years ago from Toronto

      Thanks for the input and the props! I appreciate it! Keep on writing! :)

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Absolute fan of your writing.

    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 

      11 years ago from San Francisco

      I agree with walking. I've always gotten my best ideas by just walking around and thinking.

    • Guru-C profile image

      Cory Zacharia 

      11 years ago fight it one word at a time... the best thing about writing is to have written... i like your suggestion to write something pointless (that's what i do best :-)... in "The Artist's Way", Julia Cameron suggests putting up a post-it that says, "Dear Creator, I'll take care of the quantity and you'll take care of the quality." PS: I really like your hubs.

    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 

      11 years ago from San Francisco

      I agree with walking. I've always gotten my best ideas by just walking around and thinking.


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