You probably don’t want to hear what I have to say about writer’s block.
But first, let’s uncover what it really is and how writer’s block can affect you.
Writing is hard enough on its own without writer’s block crawling into your brain and snatching up the words you really need to get that chapter done.
But the thing is, we’ve all been there before.
Every writer has experienced the struggle of forcing words onto a document one by one, dragging them kicking and screaming from the corners of your mind only to be left with a single sentence…one hour later.
And you don’t even really like that sentence.
What’s Causing Your Writer’s Block? QUIZ!
In order to cure an illness, you have to know what’s causing it first, right?
Before you take another step or scroll even an inch further, take this quiz because without knowing the why, you can’t possibly find a cure that’s best for your writer’s block.
Being Informed is the Key to Beating Writer’s Block
If you want to cut right to the chase – and save some time – we can sum up what writer’s block is all about: not being prepared.
The more you know and understand about the publishing process, the less you’ll become blocked because you’ll have clear direction – one of the biggest reasons writer’s block encompasses your mind.
And to do that, we put together the free training you need.
What is Writer’s Block?
Writer’s block is a nasty hindrance where you just can’t think of what to write no matter how hard you try and how much you challenge your mind – and a blank document quickly becomes your worst enemy. Even the best authors out there still deal with this from time to time.
It can slow down your progress and end up taking much longer for you to write your book.
And with so many reasons for writer’s block to take hold – like insecurity, a lack of direction, or maybe even just a bad writing day – it can put you down and complicate the whole writing process.
Getting rid of it is not only the best thing for your book’s progress, but for writing faster and with more quality overall.
If you, much like the rest of us, have ever dealt with writer’s block, here’s how you can sever its annoying restraints for good!
What causes writer’s block?
Underlying issues like insecurity, a lack of direction with your plot, or even too many potential options for your book can cause writer’s block along with your creative “tank” being empty.
While this might sound bad, the best part about all of these is this: they’re preventable.
How to Overcome Writer’s Block by Prevention
Why do we wash our hands frequently during flu season?
That’s right. To prevent succumbing to debilitating illnesses.
And why do we get our oil changed regularly even when our vehicles are (seemingly) running well?
Right again! To prevent breaking down on the interstate and destroying our vehicles from the inside out.
That’s exactly why writer’s block is best beat by preventing the darn thing in the first place!
But how do you do that? It’s not like you can wash your brain or change its oil.
Well, not in a literal sense, you can’t. But you can try a few of these methods to keep your creative juices flowing like Niagara Falls in the springtime.[table “15” not found /]
#1 – Outline Your Book
If there’s one technique that’ll prevent writer’s block the best, it’s having an outline.
These handy tools you didn’t pay attention to creating in school are essentially roadmaps for your book. They cover what happens next and what specific information you need to include.
There are a number of ways you can create your outline; using sticky notes, writing it in bullet points, or even using one that’s attached to a writing software.
How can you not know what to write next if you already have an outline telling you exactly that?
Many of us are stuck and blocked simply because we’re not sure what we should be writing next. Your imagination is at a standstill. You may just be divided between which path your book could potentially take.
Creating a thorough outline squashes those issues so you can write fluidly, quickly, and with quality.
When you’re not focused on what to write next, you can turn your attention to the quality of your writing while pumping out those words much faster, rendering writer’s block inactive.
#2 – Research Beforehand
There’s nothing worse than getting into your writing groove only to freeze because you’re not 100% certain of the facts you’re putting down. Your mind goes blank and the words stop coming.
But since you’ve outlined your book, you know what you’re going to write before you even type that first word. Which means you know the research you need to do beforehand.
Having all the facts makes writing a breeze, and it can also kick-start some fresh ideas and a more imaginative way of thinking.
Knowing more about a subject enables you to better explain it and writer’s block will run screaming for the hills.
#3 – Write More Often
How often do you write right now? One day a week? A few days a week?
The more you write, the more effortless writing becomes. It’s like running, or exercising in general; the more often you do it, the easier it gets.
Not writing regularly weakens those creative muscles. It makes it harder to think in an innovative way, and so you spend hours on a single page simply trying to find a better way to phrase something that’s not even critical to your story.
Keep those writer muscles strong by writing as often as you can – every day, even! If you’ve got the time to flex your creativity, do it.
Using a tracking sheet like the one above is a great way to schedule out your goals and then execute in a way that makes you WANT to write every day.
This particular sheet is from a NaNoWriMo blog post, but it serves as a writer’s block cure as well.
How do you get over writer’s block?
So you didn’t survive the preventative measures. That’s okay! We’ve all been there at one time or another and thankfully, we also managed to get through it.
Writer’s block may be fickle and frustrating, but it’s not without weaknesses.
All you have to do is find a way to break through to your true creativity and these are some of the best ways to destroy writer’s block and find the words again.
#1 – Write Anyway
I know what you’re thinking:
“But I can’t! I’m blocked!”
Most of the time, you may just be out of practice and need to find your rhythm again. Even if you’re struggling to get the words out, write them down anyway.
You may not like it and you may go back to change what you wrote later, but it’s the single best way to force writer’s block into submission.
It can’t win if you still write despite its grip on you.
So get those words down and after a little while, writer’s block will scurry back into the darkest corner of your mind and stay there. Finding your flow is sometimes all you really need.
#2 – Read
Nothing can get your mind in a creative state more than reading. Picking up a book – any kind of book – and spending 30 minutes reading can spark your imagination and light a fire under you to get back to writing.
It’ll also motivate and inspire you to work harder to reach your goal of publishing a book.
When you’re holding someone else’s hard work in your hands, it’s proof your dream can come true. It’s justifying everything you’ve worked so hard for.
That may just be the push you need to shove writer’s block from your mind and get back to your work.
Never underestimate the power of a good book.
#3 – Get Moving
Exercise isn’t just great for your body, it’s also powerful for your mind.
Scientifically speaking, exercising more not only increases your mood, but your creativity gets a boost as well!
It’s not always easy to coerce yourself into going for a run or even doing a few sit-ups at home when you just settled into your comfy couch to write, but if writer’s block is preventing you from actually getting any productive wordsmithing done, it could make a huge difference.
You can simply do some jumping jacks or take a quick walk around the block. Stimulating your creativity physically might just beat writer’s block for you!
#4 – Take a Walk or a Drive
Mindless tasks help your brain get out of a funk because it frees it from focusing on your daily tasks, the insecurity you may feel about writer’s block, and even the pressure of finishing your book.
The more you can let your mind go, the more creative it becomes. Plus, a change of scenery never hurts the creative process.
Always looking at the same place or even sitting in the same spot to write can be an issue. It’s hard to come up with new ideas and think creatively when you never have anything new fueling your imagination.
Taking a walk or going for a short drive can help you recharge so you can kick that writer’s block to the curb and get back to writing again.
#5 – Talk it Out
Are you struggling with something specific? Sometimes the confines of your own mind isn’t the best place to work through your writer’s block.
You may be the type of person who needs to verbalize your concerns in order to work through them. And that means you need to get up and actually speak to someone (or even yourself!) about what you’re struggling with.
Writer’s block feeds on uncertainty. The more you question what you’re doing, the worse it’ll get.
By talking through it out loud, you’ll have a new perspective. This will often offer fresh solutions that’ll make you eager to get back to that keyboard.
#6 – Find Inspiration
There are a lot of ways you can go about getting inspired again. While inspiration isn’t necessarily required to write, it certainly helps your drive and imagination.
These are a few ways to get rid of writer’s block if you feel lost:
- Research related images on Pinterest
- Read through your outline
- Read a related book
- Create a vision board for your book
- Create a list of goals for after your book is complete
- Listen to an influential Podcast
- Watch or read successful author interviews
Inspiration is specific to each person. Meaning, it may take a few attempts before finding the method that works best for you.
Anything that rouses your excitement to write again tramples that pesky writer’s block.
#7 – Put Your Phone Away!
Are you really experiencing writer’s block or is that “block” in the shape of your phone?
A lot of us love to use the excuse of “writer’s block” in order to justify spending far too much time perusing our social feeds.
While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to catch up with friends and stay in the know, sometimes it can drag you away from achieving the goal of writing your book.
What you need may not be a cure for writer’s block at all, but something completely different: self-control.
If you struggle to focus on the task of writing and you somehow always find your phone open to a mind-sucking app, it’s a good idea to switch your phone to silent and shove it aside for the remainder of your writing time.
This alone might be enough to get rid of what’s really blocking your stream of words.
#8 – Reread Your Writing
As mentioned above, getting into a rhythm is essential for keeping writer’s block at bay. When you suddenly can’t come up with the right words to describe what’s going on in your mind, it could be because you’ve lost momentum.
Taking some time to reread your previous writing can help by putting you in the same frame of mind you were in the last time you had to stop writing.
This will catapult your brain back into the right place so you can make progress and write easily again.
#9 – Stop Comparing Your Writing
“Comparison is the thief of joy.”
Theodore Roosevelt knew as much and we’d wager to bet it also steals any progress you could be making.
The more you worry about how your writing compares to someone else’s (who usually has much more experience than you), the harder it will be to write anything.
That’s where writer’s block comes from in this instance.
You’ll find fault with every word and every sentence even though your work is fantastic the way it is.
Remember that nobody can write the story you are. Your voice and perspective are what makes your book unique in the first place. Changing this will only pull you further away from your identity as a writer.
And most importantly, comparing your writing to someone else’s isn’t productive or helpful for anyone.
#10 – Think of the Big Picture
Writing and publishing a book can be a long, hard process. Sure, the first week is exciting and you want to write all the words but that motivation probably won’t last through the entire process because it is work, after all.
You’ll have rough days – including moments when writer’s block takes hold. What’ll get you through them the easiest is taking a step back and thinking about the big picture.
Ask yourself some of these questions to get rid of writer’s block:
- Why did you want to write this story?
- How will it benefit you?
- How will it benefit others?
- What message do you hope others receive?
Pushing yourself to view your writing in terms of the end goal will not only motivate you to get started and put some words down, but it’ll also help remind you of your true purpose for telling this story.
How Long Does Writer’s Block Last?
Writer’s block lasts as long as you allow it to, which can often be days or even weeks if you don’t act on it and try these preventative and curing methods.
Ultimately, the longer you put off dealing with the underlying causes of writer’s block, the longer it will last.
Face your writer’s block head-on in order to get rid of it for good and get back to creating something that will resonate with people from all over.
Overcome Writer’s Block by Staying Informed
The more you know, the less you have to worry about and since that is such a major cause of writer’s block, we’re offering you this FREE training where Chandler Bolt walks you through exactly what you need to know to write, market, and self-publish your book within 90 days!
Ultimately, preventing and beating writer’s block should be at the top of your to-do list if you want to write and publish a book in a reasonable timeframe. With this annoyance behind you, your mind will be free and it may even stir up more creative ideas for other writing projects.