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Overcoming Writers Block
Transcript of Overcoming Writers Block
The mind is a muscle. Even muscles need a break. Take a break. Go for a walk, read a book, just get away from your novel.
I recommend anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours, what ever you need to allow your mind to rest and reset.
Step Away From the Pen
(or Pencil, or Keys.)
Try Writing Exercises.
As much as it may remind you of your high school writing class, writing exercises can loosen up the mind and get you to write things you would never write otherwise. If nothing else, they get words on the page, and if you do enough of that, some of it is bound to be good.
Some writers find it helpful to switch back and forth from one project to another. Whether this minimizes fear or boredom, or both, it seems to prevent writer's block for many people.
Don't get to far ahead of yourself though. Working on a large number of projects at once can get yourself overwhelmed in a hurry.
Work on More Than One Project at a Time.
One good way to keep your projects straight is to develop a file system for your projects. Wither you write them by hand or type them on the computer developing a solid filing system or choosing the right creative writing software can take a lot of the work of trying to find the right document when you're writing a book.
Writer's block could be a sign that your ideas need time to gestate. Idleness can be a key part of the creative process. Give yourself time to gather new experiences and new ideas, from life, reading, or other forms of art, before you start again.
Take Time Off If You've Just Finished a Project.
Set Deadlines and Keep Them.
Many writers, understandably, have trouble doing this on their own. You might find a writing partner and agree to hold each other to deadlines in an encouraging, uncritical way. Knowing that someone else is expecting results helps many writers produce material. Writing groups or classes are another good way to jump-start a writing routine.
Unplug the Internet
This is similar to step two but applies when you can’t get away from your desk but need focus. The web is a big distraction when you want to get good writing done – close Facebook, turn off Twitter and stop checking your site. In fact, just unplug the Ethernet cable or turn off your wifi altogether and you’ll really start to focus. I am more connected than any person should be, but good writing or beating writer’s block requires you to disconnect.
Listen to Music
Pick music that is not only music you like but music that you think will fit where you are in the story at the time. In an action scene? Pick a higher, more upbeat music. Romantic scene? Barry Manalow. Don't try to force it though with music you don't like. That will turn you off of a mood quicker than a tv on saturday night with nothing on.
This is a quick solution if you don’t have time to exercise. Despite what they say, caffeine is a great boost and will stir your mind. Just make sure what you’re working on is the only thing open while you sip your coffee so you actually work on that project (many people tend to multitask after coffee).
Don’t have anything down yet? No worries – just write the main points. Outlining your writing will break it up into easily manageable chunks. If you decide a section doesn’t work, you can always kill it later. It’s always easy to fill in the missing parts than stare at a blank screen.
Just like you when you have insomnia you shouldn’t try and force sleep, don’t try to force writing when you’re truly stuck. The outcome is the same in both cases – frustration. If you really can’t get writing and you’ve tried everything it may just not be your day. And that’s okay, no one can be successful with creative tasks every day…it may be a day to focus on a more technical project.
Don’t force it
"Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don't try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It's the one and only thing you have to offer." - Barbara Kingsolver