20 Ways to Tackle Writer's Block

April 24, 2019

 

Thanks to a fantastic discussion on Writer's Chat, I wanted to make the resources readily available. Below you'll find twenty ways to tackle writer's block with a brief explanation for each.

 

1. Set word count goals - I usually make mine about 2500-3000 per day when I'm writing a book contract. Yours don't have to be that ambitious. If you just have a set number of words to hit each day, it can give you a structured goal. Also, give yourself one day off per week for rest. 

 

2. Pantsing vs. plotting - Whether you plot with an outline or fly by the seat of your pants (pantsing) try out the other form of writing to break that block. If you're a plotter, ditch the outline. Pantser, try to map out one chapter, even if you know your characters will ignore your suggestions.

 

3. Change up the genre - Or do a different POV or mix up the first vs. third person. If you find yourself writing all romance, try a genre that scares you. All third-person past? Go for first person present.

 

4. Read great writing - 1) The classics 2) In your genre 3) something vastly different than your genre. These three will help shape your craft via osmosis.

 

5. Attend writer's conference - I never walked away from a writer's conference without ten new ideas. Something about meeting with fellow writers and hearing great classes by experts in the field ignited a fire that had burnt out in my writing.

 

6. Vary it up - Your location, the time you write, the smells of the room, what program you write (Google docs, Word, Scrivener, etc.), what you wear (trust me, this can affect everything).

 

7. Set a timer - Get distracted easily? A ticking clock might keep you on track. If you give yourself only half an hour to write, and you stare at the screen the whole thirty minutes, the next day you'll approach that time with more sincerity. Also, bonus tip, try out word sprints. Set blocks of time where you write almost stream of consciousness. It takes a lot of effort and brain power, but you'll find your writing speed will improve overall. 

 

8. Block social media - I love Pinterest. But I should love my writing more. Get an app that blocks social media, so you don't feel tempted to get lost in a network instead of your world.

 

9. Give it a rest - All writers need breaks. Sure, yes, take a Sabbath once a week. But see if you can find a week or month in the year where you take a break. You'll find an abundance of ideas flooding you during that time.

 

10. Pray - For those who practice faith, prayer can work wonders in one's writing journey. Perhaps God has placed a thorn in your side called writer's block. Pray for Him to remove it. Also, bonus tip, immerse yourself in Scripture. I highly recommend Psalms, John, and Hebrews. 

 

 11. Get an accountability partner/coauthor - Have someone keep you accountable to your writing. A coauthor can pair with this tip best. Because if you write a book together, you actually have to write it to not let the other person down. But at least have one person who asks about your writing progress. Critique groups can provide these often.

 

12. Put yourself on deadline - Pretend you have a deadline (you may not have to pretend). Give yourself a set date to get the manuscript finished. Take it as seriously as you can.

 

13. Talk with writers - Every writer can list dozens, hundreds of obstacles they overcame, including writer's block. Ask them how they conquered the very things you struggle with.

 

14. Stop self-editing - Allow yourself to write a messy first draft. Turn off that self-editor until you reach the second draft. He or she will drive you crazy with edits if you don't. 

 

15. Listen to writing podcasts - Or YouTubers who talk about writing, etc. We live in a to-go world. Sometimes we don't have time to sit and read blogs like this. That's fine. Check out great resources like Writer's Chats, Novelists Unwind, Brew & Ink Podcast, and Genres Chats. 

 

16. Idea jot - Set a timer, get a notebook, and jot down as many ideas you can think of on a single subject. You don't have to be married to any of them. With the time constraints and the strain to write as many as possible, you might forcibly break that writer's block.

 

17. Get an encourager - Writers grow discouraged often. Find someone who can support you and encourage you to keep going, even when you hit a block.

 

18. Exercise - I like to take breaks every 500 words and walk around the house or run on a treadmill. Exercise and eating healthy can work wonders when it comes to cognition, memory retention, and productivity.

 

19. Revisit old work - Worried your writing has hit a dead end? Take a look at some older writing. You've grown. I promise.

 

20. Shower power - Something about taking a shower unleashes a flood of ideas. Take an extra long one, and wait for the inspirations to pour. 

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