Sometimes writers lose their mojo and writer’s block gets in the way of progression. No need for despair. When the terror of a blank page becomes too hard to overcome, you can try these 10 simple tips for overcoming writer’s block.
1: Go for a walk
Take time out for yourself and walk away. You’ll approach your writing from a brand new angle. Plus, it’s the easiest way to exercise. Get up and away from that computer!
2: Read a book
Try reading something completely different to what you’re writing. Try a different genre. Get lost in some deep research for your WIP.
3: Give it a rest
This is a simple way of giving yourself some space. Walk away from your manuscript for a month. Go outside and do something completely unrelated to writing. Don’t even think about it. Come back in 30 days and you’ll be full of new ideas.
4: Use a Pomodoro Timer
The Pomodoro technique is simple way to maintain focus. Developed by software developers in the 1980s, it’s based on the classic pomodoro (tomato) kitchen timer. Set the timer for 20 minutes, and write with no distraction. Take a 10 minute break, reset the timer and come back. The act of intense concentration followed by a break is an incredible boost to productivity. There are free pomodoro apps you can download for Windows or MacOS. If you’re writing old school, buy a timer from a kitchen store.
5: Free write
If you can’t think of anything to write, free writing is a great technique. Get a blank pad. Write whatever pops into your head. Fill the page. Don’t stop. It’s incredible what subliminal tangents your mind can lead you on.
6: Just turn up and do the work
The pros turn up each day and do the work. You really can write your way out of writer’s block. Don’t wait for the muse to show up. Just make sure you show up each day and get to work.
7: Set yourself a daily goal
If you just turn up every day with a daily deadline and word count, you won’t have time to worry about writer’s block. We interviewed author H.M Navqui at the UBUD Writers Festival and discovered he only writes 500 words a day. You can listen to the podcast interview here.
8: Make your characters do something outrageous
Make your characters do something competely unexpected. Make a list of 10 improbable things that happen to one of your characters, then write a page about that.
9: Write to music
Listen to your favorite album. Keep writing until it has finished. You’ll churn out a few thousand words. This is a great technique from author Dr Anthony Metivier. Listen to the full interview on the Writers’ Show podcast here.
10: Accept writer’s block sometimes happens
Don’t obsess about writer’s block. Just accept it, walk away from your project, smell the roses, call a friend, do something different. Accept that you will at some time come back to it. If you’re a writer and you’ve got a track record, you’ll know this is true.
Writer’s block is real to some and a myth to others. One of these 10 strategies may help you overcome yours. In our Writers’ Show podcast, we spoke to Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh, who we’ll let have the last word.
I think the most important thing is to know yourself. Because, you know, I mean, I’ve met so many ‘writers’, who would be writers like, who don’t actually like spending time on their own. You know, I mean, it’s like they like hanging in bars and telling you about the books they’re going to write and all that but then they go home and sit down and kind of get bored and restless and can’t concentrate. They’re just not used spending time on their own. I would say, just, you know, get used to spending time on your own and make sure you like doing it and you’re comfortable with it, then that’s kind of half the battle and you should not be easily distracted. I remember when I started out I was very easily distracted because I was more into music. I was more into going out there and meeting girls and having people around and knocking things down. Now I just sit in a room quietly with myself.Irvine Welsh on The Writers’ Show podcast