How to Stop Writer’s Block and 20 Tips to Get Past It
You finally have a full weekend available to work on your book, but come down with a sudden case of writer’s block. Now what?
You sit down at your computer, or at the table with a pen and paper you’re ready to go.
Except . . .
Nothing comes out. Your thoughts stop and you can’t remember what you were even going to write about.
Has this ever happened to you?
Have you begun to dislike writing because you find it hard to write anything?
All writers experience a little writer’s block at one point or another. What is important is that we don’t let it stop us from writing completely.
Here are 20 tips and quotes from famous authors on how to overcome writer’s block.
1) Free Write
What is on your mind right now? Write about it. Write down anything that you can. By writing about something, even if it is not about the topic you are writing about can get your creative juices flowing
2) Develop a Habit of Writing Every Day Like J.G. Ballard
“All through my career I’ve written 1,000 words a day – even if I’ve got a hangover. You’ve got to discipline yourself if you’re professional. There’s no other way.” –J.G. Ballard
Make it a habit and a routine to write once a day. Eventually, you will write that breakthrough piece. Overcoming takes practice.
3) Use A Proven Book Writing Plan
The easiest way to learn how to write a book is to follow a proven plan.
Having a plan gives your book structure. Working from this plan gives you clarity on the big picture. It’s much easier to continue to move forward when you have planned ahead on how you want things laid out.
4) Listen to Classical Music
Playing classical music in the background or through my headphones as I work has always helped me write creatively. I have found classical music works best for me, but try playing your favorite music in the background.
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5) Put It Aside For A Few Days
Take a break from writing for a couple of days. Try to clear your head of your fears of writing. Taking a break should give you a new perspective and some fresh new thoughts to work with.
6) Read Your Favorite Book
Reading another piece of writing by your favorite author can open your mind to a new writing style or structure. Here is a video of 3 books that have had a positive impact on my life.
7) Pretend You’re Talking to a Friend
“Pretend that you’re writing not to your editor or to an audience or to a readership, but to someone close, like your sister, or your mother, or someone that you like.” – John Steinbeck
How would you tell a friend about the ideas you are writing about?
You would probably talk to them differently.
Write casually as if you’re talking to your best friend. Forget about your audience and write.
8) The First Paragraph Is The Hardest
“One of the most difficult things is the first paragraph. I have spent many months on a first paragraph, and once I get it, the rest just comes out very easily.” – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
9) Develop a Routine Like William Faulkner
“I only write when I am inspired. Fortunately, I am inspired at 9 o’clock every morning.” – William Faulkner
Ask yourself these questions:
- When is my most productive time of the day?
- When is the time when I feel most inspired to get things done?
Many successful people are the most productive early in the morning and choose to get their most important tasks done then.
Resolve to develop a routine to write at the same time every day when you are at your best.
When you have a writing routine, your mind will train itself to write at the same time and you will have a much easier time writing.
10) Try Creative Writing Prompts
Writing prompts are a way to write about the first thing that comes to your mind when you read it.
Here is a link to writer’s digest that gives you 25 creative writing prompts. You can use these as an exercise to write more freely and off the top of your head.
11) Quit While You’re Ahead?
This isn’t quite what it sounds like . . .
Ernest Hemingway had an interesting outlook on overcoming writer’s block:
“The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day . . . you will never be stuck. Always stop while you are going good and don’t think about it or worry about it until you start to write the next day. That way your subconscious will work on it all the time. But if you think about it consciously or worry about it you will kill it and your brain will be tired before you start.”
Go for a jog and clear you head if you are having a hard time writing. Exercising is a good way to energize your mind and to become more productive.
13) Start in the Middle
The first paragraph is the hardest.
If you are working from a plan and you know exactly where your writing is leading to, start in the middle. When you finish ideas in the middle of your book, the beginning and end often write themselves.
14) Write What You Feel Like Writing
If you are finding it hard writing about your chosen subject, write about something else for a bit.
Writing should be enjoyable. As long as you are getting into the habit of writing daily, you will begin to enjoy it more and more.
15) Change Your Medium of Writing
Do you normally write in Microsoft Word on your computer?
Switch to pen and paper, or to Google Docs. Try changing the color of your text from black to blue, or change the font.
This doesn’t sound like much, but you will be surprised at the difference it can make.
16) Take a Walk
Sometimes all you need is to do is change your surroundings. Take a walk through a park and watch other people and what they are doing.
“If you get stuck, get away from your desk. Take a walk, take a bath, go to sleep, make a pie, draw, listen to music, meditate, exercise; whatever you do, don’t just stick there scowling at the problem.” -Hilary Mantel
Even writing in a different spot, like your favorite coffee shop can often break your writer’s block.
17) Call a Friend
Similar to writing like you are talking to a friend, call a friend and speak with them about your topic. This will help you explain what you are trying to write in a casual setting.
18) Don’t Edit While You Write
One of the things that can ruin your motivation is editing as you write. Especially if you have writer’s block, don’t go back too much and edit at first.
Just get your thoughts onto the paper and edit later.
19) Do More Research
Sometimes, writer’s block comes from you not being prepared to write on a subject as well as you should be. If you don’t have enough information on your subject it will become difficult to write in the long run.
Take more time to research your subject further and your writing will go much further.
20) Don’t Try to Be Perfect
It’s ok if everything that you write isn’t perfect on the first time. If you worry too much about making your writing perfect, you will never write anything at all.
“Writing about writer’s block is better than not writing at all.” – Charles Bukowski
Thank you for reading my blog. Do you have any unique ways to overcome writer’s block? Share them in the comments below.
Be sure to check out my resource page for authors to get more book writing tips!
About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Youtube.