Writer’s block can strike fear in the heart of any writer. Whether you’re writing a novel or a blog post, running out of things to write about or being perpetually stuck in your writing can be a writer’s worst nightmare. If you’re working on a tight deadline, you also face added pressure to produce words within a specific timeframe, even if you don’t know what to say. Thankfully, you can do plenty of things to help overcome writer’s block.
Writer’s block is caused by several psychological conditions. Most writers experience writer’s block at some point, and it affects every writer differently. Underlying fears and insecurities about your writing, like the fear of rejection, the fear of inferiority, and the fear of criticism, are contributing factors. Perfectionist tendencies may also play a role. Other times, you may feel distracted from writing due to circumstances in your personal life that make it challenging to focus on writing. Since there isn’t one cause of writer’s block, there isn’t one solution to overcoming it. Here are our best tips for getting rid of writer’s block:
One of the easiest ways to beat writer’s block is to outline your writing before making a draft. Outlines help guide your writing so you stay on topic and know where you’ll go next. Plus, outlines help prevent the paralysis that can occur when staring at a blank page. Outlines don’t need to be rigid or follow a particular format. They can take on many forms, such as writing a few words in bullet points or crafting paragraphs of text that are eventually strung together. However you choose to format your outline, the most important element is that you’re comfortable with it and see it as a valuable tool to help focus your writing.
Taking a break is our best advice on how to overcome writer’s block. If you’re stuck in your writing and don’t know how to continue, it’s best to step away and come back with fresh eyes instead of powering through the block. During your break, do something that helps you feel rejuvenated and inspired. This could include going on a walk, taking a nap, working out, taking a shower, or enjoying a fresh cup of coffee. If possible, leave your writing until the next day. If this isn’t feasible, you’ll want to step away for a few hours before returning to writing.
Unable to leave your desk and take a break for a few hours? Try the Pomodoro technique. This method helps you concentrate on writing in highly focused, distraction-free bursts with frequent small breaks. To use this technique, set a timer for 25 minutes and write without distractions until the timer goes off. Then, take a five-minute break. Repeat this process several times, then take a longer break for lunch or to get some fresh air. Once you’ve developed a rhythm with this technique, you may find you can set your timer for shorter or longer bursts.
When you’re trying to get out of a slump in your writing, it’s easy to let it consume all your thoughts and let your basic needs fall by the wayside. To overcome writer’s block, get plenty of rest and eat well-balanced meals. Writing takes a lot of mental energy, so be sure you’re giving your mind what it needs to thrive.
Are you stuck with one particular part of your story? Skip it! You don’t need to write your story in order when creating your first draft. If you know how you want your story to end but can’t figure out the beginning, write the ending first and piece the other parts together afterward. This could help shape your entire story. If you’re writing non-fiction or a historical piece, don’t stop the flow of writing to research a particular element or review a source. Instead, write what you know and highlight the parts where more research is needed. You can do the necessary research at a separate time.
Beat writer’s block by allowing yourself to write something just for fun. This gives you the opportunity to get creative and strengthen your writing in the future. Write whatever helps you explore your imaginative side, whether it’s in your journal, a social media post, or an article for your personal blog. You can also do some creative writing exercises to help get the juices flowing.
The age-old adage is true: reading is one of the best ways to improve your writing. If you’re wondering how to overcome writer’s block, take a break to read. Learning from great published authors may help inspire your story. Be intentional and pay attention to the author’s style and storytelling method. This may help you see your story in a new light.
If you’re dealing with writer’s block, a change of scenery may be all you need to overcome it. You don’t have to go far, either. If you’re constantly distracted in your home office, switch things up and bring your laptop into the backyard on a nice day. The sweet sounds of birds and wind will calm you and help you focus. Or, find your next character inspiration by working inside a cozy, local coffee shop.
If you normally work while listening to music or white noise, try changing it up to beat writer’s block. If you prefer working in silence, try listening to classical music to get started. If you work with a sound machine, change the tone. If you have a go-to music station while working, try switching the genre to spark creativity.
Don’t force yourself to maintain a nine-to-five work schedule when writing. Instead, pay attention to when you feel the most productive and structure your writing around those times whenever possible. For some people, this could be in the early morning before bringing kids to school. Or, you may work better late at night once everyone in the house is asleep. The important part is to find a rhythm that works for you.
That’s right. Pray. Ask the Lord to remove all that is blocking your creativity or ambition from you. Ask the Lord to fill you with his words and to write through you. Offer your writing as an offering for his glory. Then write. You may find this should be your first step, rather than your last.
Once you’ve overcome writer’s block, it’s time to finish your draft, edit it, and get it published. Our team at EABooks Publishing is your self-publishing partner and will help you with all the elements you need to get your book published. We work with new and seasoned authors to help you achieve your dream of becoming a published author and sharing your story with others. We offer a Get Unstuck program if you’d like help. Contact us to set up an appointment to get started and Get Unstuck.
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