Notice, I don’t say “how to overcome.” That is because I think it’s personal, super personal. We have different stresses, anxieties, and road blocks in our lives that can cause writer’s block. Overcoming it can be just as unique. I’ll present my solutions that I have found to work for me, but I encourage you to try the same! You never know!
When I was in middle school, my mother gave me a literal writer’s block.
Behold! I didn’t have the heart to open it, and a pen came with it that has been long lost. All puns aside, there are several things one can attempt to conquer writer’s block.
#1 Accept It
I feel that sometimes it’s the acceptance of writer’s block itself that can help one overcome it. This may sound silly, but if you accept something it’s easier to move on from it. There are many psychological studies supporting this method and well, what’s it gonna hurt to say, “Yes. I have writer’s block and it’s okay!” Sometimes you really need a break. Take a week off from writing. Heck, allowing yourself to take a day off from it can work. The key is to not feel bad about taking that needed time. That being said, it’s important not to let it become habit.
#2 Power Through It
Write anyway! Even if it’s nothing on your current project. Getting the juices flowing on a short story can help rekindle the old flame of your epic novel. I’ve had so many times that I wrote anyway and thought the entire time, “This is crap. This is awful. I shouldn’t even bother because come edit this is all coming out.” I would go back and reread and it would be amazing. Surprisingly so, because I had the distinct memory of hating it. I had serious dread in the pit of my stomach because I knew how much work that section needed. Turns out it didn’t. Some of my best stuff has come out when I was forcing myself to push through, thinking negatively the entire time. So, write anyway! You never know.
#3 Detail Your Outline
If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know what a nut I am for outlines. I cannot say how many times having an outline kept my word count up. Writer’s block comes in varying degrees and styles for me. Which is why I have various ways of dealing with it. Sometimes it would be a creative block. Back when I pantsed my novels this was awful. I would be in the mood to write but I couldn’t compose a single sentence because I had nowhere to go with it. We have our creative spurts, or, I do! I’ll have days where I can’t type or write fast enough to get all of my ideas down. It’s almost like a creative bank that you withdraw from when you need inspiration. I have index cards on my desk and if I get an idea I’ll write it down on that index card and put it in a folder. Well, when you plan and outline on your creative days, it’s easy to refer to on your less stellar days. If you’re facing a writer’s block, sometimes it’s best to follow an outline to guide you through the motions until you warm up to it.
#4 Non-Writing Productivity
Plot! Draw some backgrounds or floor plans. Work on other aspects of your novel besides the actual writing. Get excited about your characters by filling out worksheets. Start drawing a map of their neighborhood. Work out the ventilation system on their spaceship. If you can get excited about your story from the other aspects of world building and planning, you’ll be excited to dive back in and get to writing.
#5 Physical Activity
Sometimes my best plotting was done on a treadmill, no joke. Take your dog for a walk or clean the house. Whilst scrubbing the bathtub, why not work out how the intergalactic alliance settles disputes? Maybe while vacuuming you can figure out a new futuristic carpet that wouldn’t require such a task! Or is that just wishful thinking on my part? Either way! Sometimes doing a productive physical activity can not only help you clear your mind, but make you feel good for getting something done, even if it wasn’t writing.
#6 Clean Your Work Area
If my desk is too cluttered, so is my mind. And yet! At other times I thrive in the chaos. If you’re having trouble staying focused, look at your environment. Is there a stack of unopened mail nagging at you? Need to clear away that dinner plate from last night? Give your area a little breather and clean that sucker off. In addition to cleaning up your area, why not rearrange it? Have that desk face a window, or if it’s too distracting, the wall! XD Change it up now and then. Tell yourself as you dust off your monitor you’re dusting off your writer’s block.
#7 Is It Even Writing Related?
As mentioned in the beginning of this blog, the causes of your writer’s block can vary. This includes stresses with work or family that aren’t even related to writing. If you’re too busy worrying about having money to pay the rent it can make for a hard time. Sit for a moment, take a deep breathe, and focus. Is something bothering you? Can you do anything about it in the exact moment in time you’re trying to write? If you can, then take care of it. You’ll feel better and can concentrate on your writing afterward. If you can’t do anything, then let it go. Work on your writing and allow yourself to escape a little. I’m a worrier and I know this from experience. It is definitely easier said than done, but sometimes escapism (in healthy doses) can help relieve some of that tension building up in other aspects of your life.
Until Next Time…
I hope some of these tips I use can help you. Everyone is different and so our solutions will be too, but you never know! Nothing is going to be bulletproof, but we sure can try. I would love to hear what others do for their writer’s block (if you’re so inclined) in the comments. And as usual, I have to say Dragon Bloode: Covet is out on ebook and free (until July 17th) with a coupon from Smashwords! Coupon Code: ZT57S