How to Beat Writer's Block

"For many of us, the hardest part of all is getting started. Sitting down in front of a computer screen or a blank sheet of paper, rolling up our sleeves, and--and nothing." -- Richard Nordquist

My fellow blogger Cassandra Jade had a nice entry on her site Darkened Jade about every writer's dreaded affliction, Writer's Block, when the mind goes blank and the words refuse to come. I commented on the post with my own ideas on how to deal with it when it happens, so I decided to also post it here.

My secrets to combat Writer's Block:

1. Stick to a regular writing schedule -- Commit to writing something everyday, or whenever you have the time to write, even if it turns out to just be crap. No ideas? Jot down your stream of consciousness. Something good might come of it. Only when you stop writing completely, that's when the Evil Block wins. Once you put words on paper or on your screen, no matter how weak, the writing process has begun and it gets better from there because the first hurdle has been passed.

2. Keep a journal -- I write down my dreams and take notes on everything. Whether it's a dream journal or a notebook of fragments, ideas, sketches, anything can be a great source of inspiration for those days and nights when you feel your mind blanking out on you.

3. Never, ever, throw anything out that you've written -- Even if it seems like garbage, even if you're embarrassed by it, even if it's not anything you'll ever share with anyone. I've been inspired by lame stories I wrote as a kid, or my years-old outlines of tales I never completed, or half-finished screenplays. Throw something out that you wrote and it's gone forever. Keep it and you never know -- you might re-read it someday and see it all in a fresh new light or lead you in a brand new direction that could break through any Writer's Block.

4. Chat with a fellow writer -- about movies or TV shows you've seen, books you've read. You don't have to talk about writing, but eventually you'll probably end up talking about plot, characters, things that might spark ideas about your own stories or new stories altogether.

5. Take a break and clear your head -- Go someplace different: the park, the zoo, a museum, the beach, a drive. A change of scenery is a guaranteed way to get you thinking about new things, and when you think about new things, guess what? New writing ideas begin popping up in your head.

Happy writing, everyone.


Cassandra Jade said…
Love the cartoon - I remember that expression from school when people would sit staring blankly at their test paper or assignment sheet.
Thanks for sharing your methods for overcoming writer's block