Monday, March 14, 2011

Overcome Writer's Block

Do you ever experience writer’s block? If you’re a writer, I don’t think you can avoid it, but how do you overcome the brick wall that keeps you from your muse?

One way is to start a new document (so you don’t mess with the good one) and take the scene you were struggling with. Now, do your best to make this scene the worst scene you’ve ever written. Destroy it. Add all the adverbs you want. Make your characters one dimensional. Have floating body parts and talking heads. Dump all kinds of info and backstory. Get all that bad writing out of your system. Now, read it. Laugh. And realize no matter what you write afterwards won’t be nearly as bad as this. Sometimes what’s blocking you is a little thing called perfectionism. Give yourself permission to make mistakes and realize it takes a lot of effort to really create a writing disaster. While you’ll most likely have to tweak your work after you write, at least you’ve grown as a writer. Just think. If you know enough to purposely ruin a good scene, then you have the knowledge to fix it, too.

Other ways to overcome writer’s block are:

-take time away from writing
-remove yourself from your desk and go for a walk
-switch to a different computer or to a notepad
-change the font you’re writing with
-recite the scene into a digital recorder and play it back to see if it works
-brainstorm with other writers
-edit a different scene or project
-take a nap
-jump into the shower
-grab a cup of coffee
-write a letter to your character about how frustrated you are with him
-have your character write you a letter to you about what he’d like to do in the scene instead of what you’re telling him to do

Do you have any other ideas on how a writer can overcome writer’s block?

Unfortunately, finding your lost muse doesn’t mean you’ll write the perfect manuscript, but it’ll get you writing again. Worry about the editing later.

By the way, my follower contest is now closed. I’ll announce the winners this week.


  1. I just blogged about how I overcome my writer's block today. I find, cutting the clutter around me is always helpful to become focused again.

  2. Nice post! I'd add to this list "Work on a different writing project." A lot of times, I think we get sick of what we're writing on so we get writer's block. By "cheating" on your WIP with a SNI, a lot of times you'll get inspired to go back to the original WIP. Or at least, this is what has happened to me in the past. :)

  3. All good tips. I usually go see a movie in the theater. Sometimes being in the dark and becoming absorbed in another great story helps.

  4. Great tips! I copy and paste the part I'm stuck on into a new document. Once the idea that "once it's typed in black and white it stays forever" is gone, I can write freely knowing it will only affect my manuscript if I want it to. For me it's all about mind games. :0) christy

  5. This is great, practical advice. I read if I'm stuck it's an opportunity to catch up with the tbr pile :)

  6. I'm not sure I 100% believe in writer's block, but I will say, that yes, as a writer you need to take time away from what you're writing in order to collect that next scene properly in your head. Good list of advice!

  7. This seems to be the hot topic for March, does writer's block happen with the change of season or time change?
    I have been stuck and even blogged about it as well since last Thursday and though I have tried I can't seem to get with it. I've taken walks and have had enough coffee to fulfill my caffeine fix for the rest of my life, a nap might help I could use more sleep.

  8. Hi Lynnette....I found you through Dani's blog. I've just started writing again after many long years so don't have the confidence for competitions but I'll certainly find your blog useful!

    Totally unrelated, I don't often come across Lynnette's but my son's band Casino wrote a fabulous wee song in your lovely name (it's my fave one the boys have recorded so far) and most Lynnette's love it. Hope you do, too! It's also on my side bar...!

  9. I like the new blank page idea and making it into my own play ground of muck. Just taking everything and smooshing it all around into everything and nothing at the same time. It sounds like what I need to do sometimes. What a great post! Thanks Lynnette.

  10. For me, writer's block is often the story's way of telling me that what I'm doing isn't right. I find if I take a break and working on something else for a few days gives me some perspective when I go back to it.