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Being a writer

Overcoming Writer’s Block

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Writer’s block – when you don’t have it and the muse is with you it is great and when she runs off and you feel blocked it sucks. How do you overcome writer’s block?

This post is inspired by a question on Author Buzz that I’ve been meaning to answer for a month but (ironically) I’ve felt a little blocked myself.

Tips from around the web for dealing with writer’s block

Writers Digest on writer’s block

These tips are inspired by a WritersDigest.com article on the subject.

Do something – anything – creative

If you are feeling blocked, switch tracks and do something else creative. Keep stimulating that creative part of your mind and let your unconscious self have time to think.

Eliminate distractions

Sometimes we cannot write not because we are blocked mentally but because we are blocked by distractions. Nagging tasks, loud sounds, bad smells, hunger… Whatever is distracting you – go deal with it and then come back and try again.

Read the rest of these tips.

Nicole Bianchi’s tips for writer’s block

These tips are from a post written by Nicole Bianchi on writer’s block.

Make yourself write anyway

Sometimes just getting on with the process of writing can be enough to get you started. Nicole Bianchi recommends this exact approach and it is one that has, in the past, helped me to get unstuck. It is hard but it does work.

Do what Neil Gaiman does and take a few days off

Nicole Bianchi quotes several famous writers and the way they deal with a lack of muse. Personally, as a huge Gaiman fan, I am inclined to take this advice as gospel. As a slight variation on it – get some sleep. You have no idea how hard it is to write if you are tired.

Read the rest of her tips.

Advice on writer’s block from Wikipedia

Okay, don’t shoot me. I know Wikipedia is hardly the place most writers turn to for advice. However, the article on writer’s block is very interesting.

Analyse your own process

Take a deep long introspective look at your own creative process. Perhaps document it as you do. At the very least this will give you something to blog about. It may also help you find out what inspires you and if some step you need but were unaware of is missing.

I recently discovered I need silence to write. I’ve always known that I think with the same part of my mind that I use to understand what people are saying to me. What I failed to realise is that when there is hubbub around me, the very part of my mind that I need for writing is busy.

Get some encouragement

Print of four or five copies of the last five pages you wrote and bring them along to a friendly writers’ group. Thanet Creative have tea and chat every Thursday as well as social meetups. Trust me – that feedback gets you writing like nothing else. Also knowing that people are keen to see what happens next can be a powerful motivation to get it written.

Tips from IO9 on writer’s block

IO9 have a post called the ten types of writer’s block and how to overcome it. Here are two suggestions from that list.

Go on a tangent

You may be blocked because you are not yet ready to acknowledge a giant hole in your plot. Don’t be frightened to take the story off on a tangent and see what happens. Even if you chuck that part away alter, you will have gotten to know your characters and the setting that bit better – and you are still writing. My best work happens on tangents.

Chuck out the last chapter, or even the last 50 pages and go from there.

Sometimes you are blocked because, quite honestly, you took a wrong turn and none of this makes any sense. When that happens the only option is to backtrack and try again. I’d suggest trying the tangent first but sometimes there is nothing else for it.

Read more IO9 tips.

Over to you

This is where you come in. What are your tips for overcoming writer’s block? What gets you writing again when you grind to a stop?

Let us know in the comments section below.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matthew is a writer and Geek from Kent (UK). He is the founder and current chair of Thanet Creative Writers as well as head geek for Author Buzz. His ambitions include appearing on TableTop with Wil Wheaton and seeing a film or TV series based on something he wrote.

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Thanet Creative are just a bunch of local people sharing our love of writing. Most of us have day jobs or are trying our best to make full-time writing pay. We have a Facebook group which is very active if you need a quick answer.

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