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Tips for How to Beat Writer's Block
Overcoming Writer's Block
Anyone who has ever tried to write has had writer's block. It's an inevitability of the creative process. Even the greats have to deal with it. The real question is, how do we beat writer's block?
Everyone has their own method, and what works wonderfully for one person might be a complete flop for someone else. It's a lot of trial and error and can even change from day to day. Over time, the best writers find methods that help them beat the writer's block monster.
I've compiled what I consider to be some of the best strategies for overcoming writer's block. Try them out, adapt them as needed, and see what works for you.
When trying to overcome writer's block, the best thing to try is simply to write. Take a break from what you are trying to write and focus elsewhere. You can write something else entirely that hs nothing to do with your current project, work on a different section of your project or novel, or write the scene you're working on from a different perspective.
Here's some writing prompts to get your started:
1. Write something from an inanimate object's point of view. (ex. a park bench or a city bus)
2. Write from an animal's point of view (ex. dog, cat, horse, squirrel, lion, whale, etc.)
3. Write the scene you're working on from a different character's perspective.
4. Write the scene from a third person's perspective (or first person, depending which is different from your norm)
5. Work on a scene from a different point in your novel, or a different section of your article. Remember, writing does not always need to be done chronologically.
6. Write a scene that does not appear in the novel. this can help you understand your characters better. It can be before the novel takes place (years, or a short time) or after it finishes. It could also be a scene that is happening in the time of your novel, but which we don't see.
Writing Prompts to Beat Writer's Block
If you're looking for more writing prompts, this book is full of them. It has hundreds of ideas for starting a story or getting over that pesky writer's block. Remember, just because a prompt is for starting a story doesn't mean you have to use it that way. Use the story starter to get yourself out of your rut for a few minutes, then go back to what you were working on.
Get Some Exercise
Our brains need exercise to function well. Go out and take a walk. Do some sit ups, push ups, or jumping jacks. Sometimes a burst in physical activity can give us a mental boost. If I take a walk for a break, I usually think about what I'm writing and get a lot of great ideas for when I go back to work.
Split Your Time
It can be hard to sit for long periods of time and focus on one thing. Come up with a way to split your time so you write, but also have opportunities to get up and do something else. For example, write for 20 minutes, then spend 10 minutes doing a bit of light housework. This can help keep you motivated to work for those short bursts and avoid writer's block. Just be careful to keep the focus on writing. The other activities should be the break, not the main task. Don't pick something that will tire you out or take a lot of mental energy.
Don't Stray Off Task
It can be so easy to become distracted. Sometimes this becomes such a habit, we spend more time procrastinating than writing, and this can lead to an even worse case of writer's block.
One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was this: Pick a period of time to work (ex. 15 minutes) and during this time, you CANNOT do anything else. Do not get up and wander around. Do not open the internet or games. Do not start doodling. In this 15 minutes, you are either writing or taring at the screen. If you find yourself constantly procrastinating, forcing yourself to do nothing but stare at the screen for this time will help you get back on track. It will develop the god work habits you need in order to write.
Examine your eating habits. Do you eat mostly junk food? Do you get enough fruits and veggies? This won't hold true for everyone, but often a lack of healthy eating can cause brain fog, which is a huge problem if you have writer's block. If you're having trouble staying focused, try changing your diet. Make sure you get AT LEAST 5 servings of fruit and veggies a day (spread throughout the day). Also, drink lots of water. Staying hydrated can help wash away that pesky brain fog. Aim for two liters a day, but if you can't manage that, just drink as much water as you can.
Another Great Tip for Beating Writer's Block
This video has great advice for how to overcome your writer's block. You'll be surprised both at how easy it is, and how effective it is.
Believe in Yourself!
As silly as it might sound, sometimes the best thing you can do is to believe you can succeed. If you picture yourself beating your writer's block and you believe you can do it, you're much more likely to overcome it than if you have a negative attitude.