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Blocking the block

I think it’s safe to say that most writers have, at some point along the way, felt stuck in their writing. It’s never a good feeling, without a doubt. So what is a writer to do? I thought I’d pass along  some thoughts to help you get moving again.

  • Take a step back: Time away from your work-in-progress can be a very helpful way to gain some clarity on any issues you may feel are plaguing your writing at any given time.
  • Revisit: Going over the parts of your writing that flow smoothly can often help unblock the problems in other areas.
  • Get a second opinion: Show your writing to a friend, writer-friend, or critique group member—anyone who will be objective and give you their honest opinion.
  • Read: There are always lessons to be learned from reading someone else’s writing.

Do you have any special tricks for beating writers’ block?

6 Responses to Blocking the block

  1. Basil says:

    I drink

  2. Janice Nolting says:

    Thank you so much for the tip. I am a very frustrated writer as I believe I have finally written one of my best novels thus far and haven’t been able to get a proper response from an Agent. I’ve even changed the title of my novel and revised it for about the tenth time. I am staying hopeful, however, I may one day soon hear a favorable response from some Agent out there.

    Thank you for your interest in new writers. It is greatly appreciated.

    J. Nolting

  3. Emily Anderson says:

    I like to rewrite the parts I’m struggling with long hand. Sometimes in my head I know where I need to get to, but I get lost in my own words. If I start over and write out the scenes, focusing on getting inside the character’s head, I can often fix what’s wrong, and sometimes I come up with some really great new stuff.

    If I’m struggling writing new stuff, I just have to force myself to do it. Get it on paper so I can see where I need to go. It’s always easier once I have something to work with.

  4. Marlana says:

    My last block was conquered by temporarily putting ninjas in my story at the suggestion of one of my critique group peeps. At the time, I thought she was nuts — but it worked. Ninjas are fearless and it reminded me my protag is too.

  5. From personal experience, I think that blocks arise from thinking about writing in the abstract rather than actually writing, and the way to unstick yourself is to just start putting words on paper or the screen. Even if you start with writing “I don’t know what to write” over and over, eventually boredom will force your subconscious to come up with something else. I’m also a big advocate of writing every day, no matter how crappy or how little. Writing is like exercise: the more you do it, the more you can. And once you have, you can have that cocktail, mentioned above.

  6. Julie Nilson says:

    Reading a “writers’ help” publication helps me–something like Writer’s Digest, Write Away by Elizabeth George, or Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. When I read those, I have to have a notebook nearby, because ideas for my novel manuscript or short stories start popping into my head!

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