Writing can be like trying to start the car on a cold morning. The engine cranks, but it won’t turn over.
Writing can be like trying to start a car on a cold wintery morning. The engine cranks, but it won’t turn over.
If you find yourself wasting precious time staring at a blank page, you probably have the cursed writers’ block. Here are some suggestions to get you moving.
What is Writers’ Block
It comes to all writers, from professional authors to beginner bloggers. You had a great idea. You can’t wait to start. And then comes the blank page.
It may be at the beginning of the story, or it may be halfway through. Perhaps you are just sitting down to work in the morning, or maybe it’s mid-morning.
Whatever the time or conditions, the situation is the same. The page is as blank as your mind. Every word you type, you delete.
So what can be done about it? Here are five suggestions that are guaranteed to get you past the block and filling the page.
Create a Routine
Start at the same time each day. Begin with a mug of coffee, a cup of tea, whatever it takes – train your body to recognise, “It’s time to start writing. Let’s get creative.”
Switch off your cell phone, close down your internet access except where you need it for research.
Imagine you are in an office. You are not allowed to get distracted. You are there to work.
Experiment with music. Mozart is famous for stirring creative juices.
Read some inspirational quotes. See what other authors have to say about writers’ block.
Fingers to keyboard—and off you go.
Let It All Out
I have a well-known writer friend who has a disgusting expression. He tells you to “First vomit on the page – then clean it up.”
Here’s how you do that:
Ignore Your Writers’ Block
He’s saying you need to get it all out. Don’t try to analyze the structure. Don’t worry about how it will sound to your reader.
Give yourself permission to make mistakes. If you can’t think of the right word, use the wrong one. Don’t correct your spelling.
Remember? You’re just getting it all out. You’ll come back and clean it up later.
Lock up your in-house editor
If he comes knocking and suggests another way you could write something, tell him firmly. “Go climb into your cage! You’ll have your turn later. It’s now the writer’s turn.”
Recognize the ways you procrastinate and prevent yourself from falling into their snare. Set yourself a time when you will take a break, and then tell your procrastinator to wait until then.
Get Out Of Order
Jump ahead to a scene you can picture. You don’t have to write a story or an article in the order that the readers will eventually read.
Perhaps you’re excited about the ending. Then write it!
As the ending spills from your fingers, you will begin to wonder how the characters got to that point. When you’re ready, you can go back and write the pivotal scene.
Explore any scene in your story that you can imagine. Write whatever part appeals to you, regardless of where it fits into the story. You can always go back and revise (when you allow the editor out of his cage.)
You may do this with a friend, or you can do it alone, with a pen and paper, or with bullet points on a blank page. Don’t write coherently or try to make sense. Just get out the thoughts as they come to you.
- KC (Key Character) needs to catch the train
- She’s running late
- Guy character grabs the taxi she flagged down
- Next taxi gets caught in a traffic jam
- Just keep piling on the problems until you know what you need to write next
Write Yourself a Letter
Open a blank document and write to yourself. Explain what the problem is, why you feel blocked. Vent on paper what has gone wrong, what is preventing you from writing well.
Complain about your characters, or the weather, or your computer. Tell yourself what you should have done and when you should have done it. When you’ve told yourself what’s wrong, make some suggestions of what would help.
Then go and do it.
Free yourself up to write
Whatever method you chose to break through your writers’ block, you should now be off and running. Make sure you keep this list handy, so you can use it again.
Now hope into a comment section and type me a sentence. Anything. What have you learned?
You can do this.