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How To Deal With Writers Block

Updated on May 28, 2013

Writers Block: What Is The Big Deal?

Hello there!

Writers Block is something that many writers have to deal with, and it will often appear at some of the worst times. It often happens to me when I find that I actually have time to write, which can be frustrating to say the least.

But there are some tips that can help to conquer Writers Block, it won't always work, they aren't foolproof techniques but it might just give you the edge to finish off that novel, story or poem!

Whether you are spontaneous, organised or you are just being nosey, this article should be able to encompass all of your needs.

I hope that this helps you in some way :)

James Blunt
James Blunt

Writers Block Tip 1

Free Writing

"Free Writing" is a term that I came across while looking at how to beat Writers Block myself. A number of websites told me to go away and relax and take a break from writing for a while. This is all well and good, but if you are sat in your bed with your laptop at 3am trying to finish chapter 27 of your latest novel, then going for a walk isn't exactly possible!

Anywho back to Free Writing, it really is a lot simpler than it sounds, and for someone like me it needs to be simple :)

My idea of Free Writing is sitting down (or standing if you prefer) with a notebook and pen, a laptop or any other writing device of your choice. Then you put your headphones in (see I told you it wasn't hard).

It started on a dark and cold evening in March, the 23rd to be exact and I had turned my iPod on and scrolled down until James Blunt's name was highlighted (no music snobs please, I like him). I had then preceded to the application on my laptop called Pages (word for Mac) and began to type. About half an hour and 2 pages later, I had the beginnings of a story, and I liked it. It read pure emotion and feelings and I have to admit writing whilst crying at the same time, is a surreal experience I think every writer should try.

The art to Free Writing is to just continue writing, go back and reread by all means, you can also add a word in here and there, but try your absolute hardest not to edit! Editing disrupts the flow of writing and should be carried out afterwards, whether that be after every chapter or even after your story is "finished".

Free Writing allows music to guide the way you write, you might not even like what you have written when you are done, but the fact is that you have written 'something'... which is better than nothing and it allows your inspiration to flow. That night I started Free Writing, I had no plot for a story, no characters or anything, but by listening to a few sad songs it allowed me to create an introduction based on my emotions provoked by those songs. It wasn't the best written beginning of a story, but like I said before that is what editing is for.

I haven't experience Free Writing with music for quite sometime, although I have tried without music to see what would happen, and to be honest... I wasn't impressed. I feel like because of the connection people have with songs and with music, it can really help a writer to express themselves.

The idea of Free Writing with music, is to let the music guide you, depending on what kind of music you like and listen to, it can help you to figure out which direction the story or novel is going in. Allow music to rewrite what you have previously told about storytelling, you don't have to write everything in order, and it doesn't have to be perfect straight away... Let yourself bathe in the imperfection of your writing and enjoy it!

J.K Rowling
J.K Rowling

Writers Block Tip 2

Strategic Planning

This tip is the total opposite to the first one and is designed for the more organised writer, someone who wants every nook and cranny covered, no leaf unturned and every detail known to their readers.

The idea of this strategy is that the author knows everything they need to know about their novel before they even begin to write it. Having notebooks filled with Character Profiles and Setting descriptions can often help a writer to not get stuck when they are writing. But unfortunately this can mean the authors writing is stiff as they spend most of their time trying to tell their reader this information. It doesn't always go like that and J.K.Rowling is a great example of an organised writer who has succeeded.

There isn't much to say about this tip, other than make sure all major plot details and characters are worked out before you begin and then you can change things along the way. Having a structure for chapters can often make finishing a novel a lot less daunting.

Also being organised often makes it a lot easier if you wish to try and get your book published. Many publishers want to know how much you have already written and how the story will go. Often they also want to know if you have researched the genre and target market for your novel.

Writers Block Tip 3

The Specifics

This tip is about getting into a routine, which can allow your brain to get into 'writing mode'. Getting into the mindset for writing before you begin can help to focus all your energy to the task at hand.

Start by choosing a time and place that you will write in every day. Choose a place that is quiet, comfortable and somewhere you won't be disturbed. Not being interrupted is an important part of a writing routine.

Another detail that many writers find helpful is laying out how long they will write for, or how many words they will write each day. For example, you might decide that 500 words each day is enough, or maybe you will leave yourself an hour each day to write as much as you can.

By sorting out these small but important specific details can allow the writer to finish their book or novel much quicker and can be very satisfying.

Writers Block Tip 4

Start Something Else

It may be that you are growing bored of your current project and losing inspiration no matter what you do. Your writing is becoming dull and you keep deleting what you write. If this is the case it may be that you need to start another story to get that inspiration flowing. Some writers do not like to solely focus on one project and find skipping from one to another stops boredom :)

Writers sometimes have ideas in their heads for other stories or novels and they try to ignore them and focus on the book they are writing at that current time. BUT DON'T IGNORE IT! Get it written down or you might forget it! Other writers have admitted that while writing their books they have had really good ideas for the ending, but they felt like they had to write in order. By the time they go to the ending several months later they had forgotten their idea.

Writers Block Tip 5

Read A Book

Most writers, I assume are most likely to be avid readers and this tip is a very simple one. Just stop writing for a while and settle down to a good book. Reading books is a gateway to inspiration, ideas, and can help your novel to progress.

I have also kept a notebook beside me before and noted down any words, phrases or ideas that come into my head whilst reading the book. Also noting down vocabulary is a good way to get the juices in your brain flowing.

With modern day computers, these days people don't really use dictionaries and they don't often need to. But having a handy online thesaurus is also a good thing to look at every now and again.

Writers Block Tip 6

Write What You Know

This is more an optional piece of advice, and not something that you have to do. When writing about things you fully understand and are knowledgeable about, the writing will contain real feelings and emotions and will be much more interesting to the reader. Someone is more likely to read a war story written by a war veteran than by a teenage girl who has no idea what war is like (this is just an example).

It is possible to write about places and locations that you have not visited by doing your research on the internet, talking to people who have been there, or looking at various photos. If writing about a fictitious location, then of course you have creative license to make up what it is like by using inspiration from other places.

English Literature A Level Reading

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    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Great Article

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Always have trouble with writers block, especially when song writing. Thanks for this !

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Good article, really helped out

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      This is really good article

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      This article has really helped me to start writing again. Thanks!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Awesome article

    • ToxicAddiction profile image

      ToxicAddiction 6 years ago

      Thank you very much for your comment, reading is a brilliant way to get inspiration and new ideas, I may add that as a new tip!

    • tomtaz517 profile image

      tomtaz517 6 years ago

      Reading helps me get over writer's block too. And reading this is kind of a double whammy :)