You know there are a lot of ways of overcoming writer’s block, but my favourite is this. When Dr Suess was stuck for inspiration he would go to a secret cupboard filled with hundreds of hats. He’d try different ones on until the words came. Brilliant.
Writer’s block is just a fancy word invented by writers so they can drink more alcohol – Steve Martin
Cheers Steve! He’s right. Writer’s block doesn’t really exist. It’s just another word (or two) for procrastination.
If you’re blaming writer’s block for your lack of progress have a look at how you are managing your time. We’ve all got the same 24 hours in every day. How do you use yours? You should understand that it’s YOU and how you manage your time that is creating the block.
Here’s my top 5 tips for getting past writers block and powering on.
1: Create a dedicated writer’s space
It’s no good perching on the end of the kitchen table. You need to have a special place you can go and create. A place where distractions can be kept a minimum. It’s also easier to get in the mindset to write if you have a dedicated space.
2: Turn off the gadgets
If your computer is connected to the internet, unplug it! At the very least, close your email and web browsers. Email is the biggest concentration killer on the planet. You should not even THINK about checking your Facebook status while you’re trying to write. Turn your phone off too. If you’re trying to write with the TV on, then you’re really having a laugh.
3: Chunk your time
The only way to really achieve anything, and that includes writing, is to chunk your time. You have to dedicate at least 90 to 120 minutes to the task at hand. That means just write with no distractions. Chunking keeps you focused, and the more focused you are the more you will achieve. Set an alarm and write like crazy. There are some great little time management apps that can help you do this. My favourite for Mac is Tiempo.
4: Create a detailed writing plan
Fiction or non-fiction, if you have a plan you’ll know where you are going. If you’re writing non-fiction, you should have a skeleton mapped out with the chapter headings and sub-headings of your book. Likewise, if you’re writing fiction, you should have a story map. You should know how your story begins and ends, what the key events are. With a plan, you should not be stumped for something to write. Just look at your plan, and commit yourself to completing another little piece of the rubiks cube that is your book.
5: Free write
This is a great tool to open up some creativity and it works well in fiction and in non-fiction. Just write like a crazy person for 20 minutes. Non-stop. Set a timer and go. Don’t correct punctuation or grammar. Don’t stop to read what you’ve read. Just write for 20 minutes. It’s a brain dump. Your subconscious gets in on the party and you will be amazed what you actually write once you get going. Some of it may be rubbish, BUT you’ll always find a few gems in there that will break through your writer’s block and get you back on track. My favourite free writing tool is a little app called Write or Die.
So, what’s your favourite hat? Where’s your secret cupboard? How do you get through writers block? Please leave a comment below .