Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Escape from Writer's Block

Have you ever experienced writer’s block? Many writers will tell you, it’s not fun. But how do you escape this agonizing situation? Here are six ideas to help you get unstuck.

-Small steps: Work on a small, easy part of your project. Can you revise a scene or rework some dialogue?

-Freestyle it: Set a timer for ten minutes and write about anything, preferably not something having to do with your story. This will stimulate your creative juices, so you can hopefully get back on track.

-Take a walk: Sometimes, the nastiest part of writer’s block is anxiety. We begin to believe the worst of our writing and think we’ll never write another word. Taking the time to remove yourself from the situation and calm down can sometimes help.

-Write someplace new: A different surrounding can often put you in the right frame of mind to create again.

-Write junk: Allow yourself permission to write without editing. Respect the first draft as a FIRST DRAFT. It won’t be perfect. Remembering that can get you writing again.

-Shift your focus: If you truly can’t get a word out, try working on something that helps develop the story. Interview your characters. Review your plot outline. Have a character journal about their feelings.

If all else fails, maybe you need a day off. Even the pros have to do this occasionally. Don’t beat yourself up. You’ll be back on the keyboard (or notebook) before you know it.

Do you have any quick fixes for writer’s block?


  1. Me either, but I do like yours! Except for writing junk! I have the hardest time just writing what I know will have to be deleted later! It seems like such a waste! Yeah, I know, I will have to get over that! lol

  2. You have some great tips here. One other thing I'd say is identify what helps you break past the barriers, and use it always. Riding my motorcycle helps me think, for example. So if I'm stuck, taking a quick jaunt through foothills nearby can clear my head and get me back to writing. Nice post.

  3. When I went to a movie on Monday, I found myself thinking of all kinds of new plots on the way home.

  4. I take a shower when i get stuck. Tough days I'm clean as a whistle since I've taken four or five in one day.

  5. I usually exercise really, really hard! Then I write an emotional scene about my characters that may or may not ever make it into the story.

    If I'm really struggling, I take time away from the story and read a great book.

  6. Hi Lynnette,
    I do not suffer from writer's block (or haven't yet) but I have had quite a journey towards completing my memoir. A guest blog I wrote for womenssmemoirs might be helpful to your blog readers.Would you consider mentioning it and my upcoming interview. You could invite your readers to ask any question they have about writing or publishing a memoir. They would need to leave their questions in the COMMENT field of the guest blog. If you are okay with this, let me know and I'll get you the link to the blogsite. Thanks for considering this.

  7. Usually the only time I get writer's block is when I take a wrong turn in the story. This means I have to stop, listen, and go back to where I veered off the path.

  8. Writers block is a funny thing and depends on the individual. Some people it seems can't move through it at all while others tend to find ways around it. I know people who have to start new ms's because they didn't have or couldn't find a way around it.
    I don't suffer to bad from it...well, maybe occasionally.
    Anyway Lynnette, wanted to stop by and see how things were going. Also, invite you to my blog. I didn't have it set up before you said your goodbye at PC. My blog is I'd love it if you could stop in.

  9. This may sound silly but it works for me. I pick up the first book I find,(one I have read before).
    Then I read it from the last word back to the front of the book. I usually get one trigger on the first page or two. In a Martina Cole book, a line read backwards -today out turned had Caroline Lazy even.
    I was triggered into writing a few words...
    Caroline Lazy was a little hazy-I then wrote about a hazy sunshine and found I could put it into my WiP.
    Try it it just might work for you, if not at least you have learned to read backwards LOL

  10. You guys came up with some great ways to overcome writer's block! Thanks for sharing.

    Lynnette Labelle

  11. Good tips! Thanks for sharing.

    I personally find that moving into editing is my primary means of writing avoidance, so I should never start a session by editing unless it's only a page or so before where I left off.

    My best way to get into writing is to put on headphones and some loud music. Don't know why, but it helps me focus.

  12. Sometimes, loud music works for me too. Certain bands just help me get into that writing groove.

    Great post! Thanks for sharing.