10 tips for overcoming writer’s block

10 tips for overcoming writer’s block

There is plenty of good writing advice out there but just as writing is subjective, so are the tips. You need to find what works for you so here are a few ideas that worked for me.

Write every day – but don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day or two.

Procrastination is every writer’s downfall. Actually sitting down to write is the first step, even if you think you have nothing to say. Once you start you may surprise yourself with how the words flow.  By writing regularly you instil good habits and it helps with continuity – you don’t have to keep going back to read what you last wrote.

Finish writing each day at an exciting point

By finishing mid-action or even mid-sentence, you will be more likely to want to get back to it next day.

Go and do something else

If you do find yourself looking at a blank screen and the inspiration just isn’t flowing then a change of scene might help. You may find that going for a walk, driving, baking a cake, all free up that brain space as you concentrate on something unconnected. It’s hardly surprising that sometimes the best ideas hit us just as we’re falling asleep, once your overworked mind has a chance to relax.

Try and discover if there is a reason for the block

It may be that you’ve reached a mid-point in your book where nothing much happens. If so, then maybe this is the point where your reader would also lose interest, Try going back a couple of chapters to see where the problem is. Perhaps the book needs to go in a different direction.

Always carry a notebook and pen

You never know when inspiration will strike so be prepared. There’s nothing worse than a half-remembered dream hours later or trying to make sense of snippets of information on the backs of envelopes or serviettes. Tempting though it may be to tell yourself you’ll remember it later, the chances are that you probably won’t.

Start a character notebook

For each new character you introduce, jot their details down in a separate notebook. That way, you won’t need to go through all your manuscript to find out if your character had blue or brown eyes. A family tree, if you have a lot of characters, is also useful for keeping track of how the characters are related. It can be the ‘boring’ checking that stifles the creativity yet it is so important.

If you’re really stuck, how about trying a different genre?

It may seem odd when all you really want to do is finish your WIP. However, if the words aren’t flowing, it might be time to try something completely different until you rediscover your mojo. It could be a piece of flash-fiction, or a poem if you usually write prose, or an entry for a short-story competition. Sometimes the fact that you are writing can help rekindle that passion and get you back on track.

Never delete anything permanently

Copy all your deleted work into a separate folder. You never know when you might be able to reuse bits of it. It might even provide the inspiration for a new story at a later date. Of course, it goes without saying that you have backed your work up on a regular basis. At the very least email your WIP to yourself every few days so you won’t lose an entire file.

Engage all the senses

Sometimes, using different senses can also be inspirational. Use music to allow you to escape; try and see things through different eyes. What does that favourite object in the corner really feel like to touch? Savour the taste of that piece of chocolate. By standing back and appreciating the world around you, it can bring a fresh vision to your work.

Don’t be afraid to write the book you want

It can be tempting to try and emulate our favourite authors or to write a trope that is in demand. However, you need to find your own voice. If you’re passionate enough about your writing, it will show through. Most importantly, however hard it is, don’t give up. You don’t have to create perfection, you just have to write!

Good luck!

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