How to Overcome Writer’s Block

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Facebook writing groups are solid resources for aspiring and successful writers. One question that comes up on almost every day, on every single group I’m a part of is how to overcome writer’s block. So I scoured these groups for advice and here are some ways to overcome writer’s block. 

I personally use the Pomodoro Technique using this timer in combination with white noise — usually Rainy Mood, combined with a a cup of tea to keep me warm and caffeinated. 

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If I’m finding it difficult to write, but can’t figure out way, I try to do some self-reflection, normally in the form of free writing. Free writing involves setting a timer and writing non-stop for the set time. Even if all you write for the first few minutes looks something like this, “I don’t know what to write I don’t know what to write.” Eventually something comes to mind. 

And, if you’re focusing your thoughts on why you don’t want to write, you at least have a prompt. You might find that you’re simply exhausted and need a break. That’s all right. Maybe you’re worried about a relationship in your life or feeling excited about an event coming up next week. Journal about whatever’s bothering you until you have nothing left to say, or at least until you’ve thought it through to a temporary solution. 

If you’re really looking to stay focused on your work, but still can’t figure out what to write, it’s possible you just don’t have enough material. I suggest you start planning what you’ll write. Make an outline or break your writing goal into smaller segments. For instance, if you want to write 500 words every day, but you’re finding the last 250 words difficult to come by, break your word count into 5 segments of 50. 

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To motivate yourself, you might want to offer yourself a reward. Examples of rewards include a piece of chocolate or other foods, a walk around your neighbourhood, five minutes to scroll through social media, a short dance party, and so on. 

You could also try learning more about the story, like the settings or the characters. For instance, you can find a lot of character charts like these: 1, 2, 3

If you can visualize the end of your story, but can’t visualize the beginning or middle, just start there. It’s possible that as you write part of the scene, the rest will come to you. If not, you’ve still written more words, effectively pushing back your writer’s block for the moment. And maybe it’s this one scene that you’re stuck on. Just move onto the next scene in your novel that’s coming to you. You might find that you don’t need that scene at all, or maybe writing more of your manuscript will help you figure out what really happens in the scene you’re having trouble writing now. 

You could also try journaling about the kinds of themes in your manuscript, and try to imagine the scene using one or more of your themes. 

One writing controversy is about editing your novel before you’ve written the first draft, but some people find it helpful to stick with their story when they’ve got writer’s block. So editing your novel might be a good way to get closer to your work and remind yourself what even happens in your story. 

Listen to music that you think would play as background in the scene you’re trying to write, if the scene were made into a film. 

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Writing prompts are also a good way to keep writing without working on your manuscript. I sometimes go to reddit’s writing prompt pages. Note that some of these pages aren’t updated frequently, but you can still scroll through them for inspiration.

Similarly, you could work on another writing project you have going on. 

Maybe you need inspiration. You could try reading or watching a story that’s similar to the work you’re creating or try reading something different to give yourself a break, which brings us to…

Some ways to take a break include people watching, practicing your hobby/hobbies, and cleaning. Taking a break can also look a lot like basic self-care. For instance, you’ll want to make sure you’re sleeping enough, eating enough, practicing hygiene, and exercising. A lot of people recommend going for a walk, as it can help to be closer to nature and gives you some time to think about anything you want. 

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Taking a walk also gives you something new to look at. It’s possible that your writing space is distracting you, so maybe try working in a new space, like a library or café and deciding if a new location is a good fit for you right now. 

Stay accountable: get a writing buddy. I’ve seen a lot of people ask for writing buddies on 10 Minute Novelist’s buddy day thread, posted every Tuesday.  

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Another solution might be talking about what’s causing you to writer’s block. One meme that I’ve seen floating around social media platforms is that writers tend to talk to their loved ones about what they’re talk about your problem with your loved ones, and then as they are monologuing, they figure out a solution.

Ultimately, try not to be a perfectionist with your writing. Writing is a process, and it’s okay to make mistakes. That’s what the revision process fixes anyway. Good luck! 

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