It doesn’t matter if you’re an author, a blogger or a journalist: No writer is safe. I have already been caught by it a few times. They mostly lasted only a few days, but there were times when it went on for weeks and I was scared that I would never be able to write again.
There are different varieties of writers block, similar to a flu. Sometimes you only have a sore throat, sometimes there is also a cough and a congested nose. Another time fever joins the scene. With a writers block you tend to sit with an empty document not knowing how to start. You blankly stare at the screen or paper and it stares right back. You glance at the clock and realize that half an hour has passed. The pressure to finally get started grows and grows and and your mind blanks completely. It’s slowly getting dark outside and you’re feeling worse by the minute. You realize that you won’t make any progress today and hope for tomorrow. Unfortunately the next day the exact same empty document waits. The memory of yesterdays failure rises to the surface and swallows you whole.
A block can also happen when you already made some progress in writing your text. You suddenly don’t know how to continue. Every sentence sounds worse than the previous one. Two words are written, two are deleted. Three written, three deleted. It goes on and on.
And yet another variety is the sheer overwhelm by a mountain of work and the reluctancy to even start, because one cannot see the end.
Fortunately a writing blockage is a temporary phenomenon. Oftentimes it’s enough to just write anything at all to get back into the flow of writing – easier said than done, I know. Here are some tips you can try to conquer your obstacle. Don’t give up, if the first thing you tried didn’t work, but try every single one if needed, until you’re past the blockage.
Break it Down
Having a vast project can be intimidating. If you’re facing this huge mountain of work and you don’t know how to conquer it, you’ll have to break it down into bite-sized chunks. Pretty obvious, isn’t it? Yet often overlooked or neglected. Each task should be easily digestible. Break your novel down into chapters, scenes… sentences even, if necessary! Suddenly it doesn’t seem intimidating anymore. Writing a sentence is doable. And maybe you’ll find yourself writing more after you finally started.
This is one of my personal favorites. While this is especially useful when writing a quick first draft, it also helps a ton to actually get to writing. The inner critic who is responsible for most blockages will be silenced, because getting words on paper is the actual goal. Poor phrasing doesn’t exist for the moment. Also, deactivate the grammar and spelling check of your writing program. Just write. That’s all that matters right now. The rest ist part of editing.
Start in the Middle
Who says you have to start writing at the beginning? There is nothing wrong with starting with your favorite scene. Or to write one where your ideas are overflowing. Chances are, you’ll condition yourself to writing again and other parts are getting easier to write as well.
Change of Scenery
No matter what project you’re working on right now: Put it aside. To conquer your writing blockage is priority number one. Look for writing exercise that you can do without any pressure. What about journaling? You just have to write down what you did today or this week. You don’t have to mind the quality, because noone is going to read it anyway.
Do you have a short story lying around? Write it. Or look for a writing promt on Pinterest. There is a whole ocean of them around. Write an email or a letter. The receiver will be happy!
Another tip: Write about your writing blockage. Vent on paper how much it gets on your nerves and write how you feel (that’s how this article came to be, btw). And voilà, you’ve written something.
Do you have another strategy? Leave us a comment and let us know. Maybe this is exactly the tip someone else needs!
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