Saturday, August 13, 2011

That Dreaded Writer's Block

Many writers say that there is no such thing as writer's block. I disagree. There are many times when you sit down to write and nothing comes. There are no words. Not “crap” words, just nothing. Your brain is a blank, just like your sheet of paper. I know it to be true because it's happened to me often over the last year. How do you fix it? I'll share 10 ideas that have helped me get the words from my brain to the page.

  1. Try some music. Sometimes getting into a different medium will relax you and allow your words to start flowing.
  2. Use a writing prompt. Even though it might have nothing to do with what your work in progress, a prompt gets your creative juices flowing.
  3. Read a few pages of a book. You can choose one in your same genre or a totally different one. Reading another author's words can inspire your own.
  4. Change locations. Perhaps a change in scenery is what you need. If you're indoors, try heading outside for a bit. I find nature to be inspirational. If you're at home, head to the bookstore, library or coffee shop.
  5. Look at some pictures or create your own art. Art stimulates emotions. Emotions are part of what we communicate when we write. So get your emotions going and get the words flowing!
  6. Read some affirming quotes. Quotes that affirm your calling as a writer and your gift of creativity help unearth again your passion for this craft.
  7. Make a list. Make a list of other things on your mind. You might just be distracted. Putting those distractions on paper may free your mind to focus on the task at hand.
  8. Take a bubble bath. I know it sounds weird but bubble baths are relaxing. Sometimes when you sit down to write, you get stressed out when the words don't flow. So go enjoy some bubbles and then lets the words bubble out of you onto the page.
  9. Journal. Start writing the thoughts running through your mind. I've started doing this and then suddenly an idea directly related to my project crops up. When that happens, you have your starting point for the day!
  10. Read something else you wrote. Sometimes reading your own words will spark new ones, Give it a try and see what fresh idea appears.

There are many more things you can do to combat writer's block. These are just a starting point. My final piece of advice is to not get stressed. Writer's write. Even if all you can get on paper is one or two sentences, it's writing. That's what we do!


Marietta (Mari) Taylor
Author of “Surviving Unemployment: Devotions To Go

About Mari:
Marietta (Mari) Taylor is the author of Surviving Unemployment Devotions To Go and is a monthly blogger at the Go Ask Mom blog on Each month she blogs about parenting teenagers. Mari was also a contributor to the devotional anthology Penned From the Heart XV. Mari resides in Raleigh, NC with her husband of 18 years and her two teenage daughters. Mari has a bachelor's degree in Biology and currently works in Healthcare IT. She is also a small group leader for the women's ministry at her church and is the lead teacher for the toddler room in the church nursery. The most important thing about Mari's writing is that others would come to know, accept and adore the God who has created such a crazy jumble of things that make her who she is.


Margaret Fieland said...

Mari, great advice. Something I find helpful is doing something mindless, like raking leaves or doing dishes. That's often enough to get me going. And I'm with you on the journaling -- I find it very helpful also.

Karen Cioffi said...

Mari, I'll second that - great tips. I haven't gotten stuck yet, but when I do I'll keep these tips in mind!

Magdalena Ball said...

Good ideas Mari. I also find that the block usually happens outside of the writing process - once I just sit down and start typing it often goes. Another suggestion that helps me is to swap genres. So if I'm feeling blocked while working on a novel, I'll write some nonfiction or poetry, and vice versa.

Virginia S Grenier said...

Great post Mari. I'm going to add this to my top ten list for august blog posts.

Donna McDine said...

Mari, great tips! Thanks for sharing!

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Heidiwriter said...

Good advice, Mari. Getting outside, "into nature" sometimes helps me. Also writing out of order. If you're stuck on a scene, write one that happens in the future or write the ending.

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