One of the questions I ask when people join the Write into the Woods Facebook group is what are you having problems with right now in your writing?
I decided to start writing blog posts about the issues people are having, as I know they’re not alone and a lot of you will be having the same problems.
Want to join the Facebook group? Go right here and answer the three questions.
Let me know what’s giving you trouble with your writing and I’ll answer it in a blog post.
There are so many articles and tips across the web and in books about overcoming writers block.
And honestly, some of the tips I’ve read just don’t work. So, I’ve compiled a list of my own with things that actually have helped me break through writer’s block.
First things first, what is writer’s block? Really?
People will tell you it’s when you just can’t get motivated, or what you’re fresh out of ideas, or the idea you have just isn’t working.
The reality is that writer’s block is different for everyone, which might be why you still have it despite reading about how to solve it.
Pretty much anything can block you as a writer.
- Lack of ideas.
- Not knowing what genre you want to write.
- A plot problem that just won’t be fixed.
- Characters that you’re having trouble developing.
- Life getting in the way.
- Feeling too stressed / tired / fed up to write.
- Not knowing what happens next.
And each of these blocks has its own answer.
Reading about fixing writer’s block doesn’t do much.
So, once you’ve read this, if you’re struggling with writer’s block right now, you need to then do something about it and take action.
Otherwise, the only way you’ll fix it is by waiting.
Some tips for getting through writer’s block
Often, the solution to your writer’s block will depend not only on the problem but on you as an individual.
What works for one person won’t necessarily work for another.
So, here’s a list of solutions. Give them a read, choose one that feels like it might help you and give it a go.
If it doesn’t unblock you, pick another solution.
Keep going until the block is lifted or you run out of solutions.
(If you run out of solutions but you’re still blocked, leave a message in the Facebook group and we can all put our heads together.)
- Take a break from writing.
I don’t mean just go watch TV for a while, I mean take a proper break. Have a week, two weeks, a month, however long you need where you don’t write anything. Let the need to write build up.
- Write something else.
If you have ideas floating around your head, try writing each of those ideas and see if one excites you enough to break through the block.
- Free write.
If you don’t have any ideas, just start writing anything. Write your thoughts, write about writer’s block, write whatever’s in your head.
- Get re-inspired.
Is there a film, TV show or book that once excited you enough to want to write? Re-visit it. Remember what made you want you to write in the past and go back to it.
- Talk it through with someone.
This is my favourite tip ever: get a friend, relative or writing buddy you trust, put food and/or drink in front of them and talk out what you think is holding you back with your writing. Sometimes they don’t even have to say anything for you to have a breakthrough.
- Be kind to yourself.
If you’re feeling down, unmotivated or pressured into writing, stop! Be kind to yourself. You’re allowed to take breaks, you’re allowed to not write for a while, you’re allowed to go through other things.
- Try something new. Experiment.
Try writing a different genre or in a different structure. Change the POV. Experiment with ideas, styles and anything else you can think of.
- Keep an idea pot.
Find a jar or pot that’s sitting unloved. Every time you get an idea, write it down on a piece of paper and put it in the pot. When you’re feeling stuck, take out an idea and try writing it.
- Write for you.
Worried about what your readers might think? Forget them. Forget the market, agents, publishers and everyone else. Write for you and you alone.
- Have some fun.
Do something you don’t often do that you’ll find fun. Go to a museum, go out for a meal, go out with friends, maybe try a festival or event like a Comic Con. Relax, have fun and forget about writing.
- Use a writing prompt.
Choose a prompt and see what you write.
(You can get a writing prompt in your inbox every Friday right here.)
- Give it time.
If nothing else works, just relax and give it time. It may be that your brain just needs time for the right inspiration or motivation to come along.
Writer’s block can be frustrating, demoralising and can hold you back with your writing.
But coming out the other side can lead to something beautiful, new genres, a new voice and fantastic stories.