Writer’s block is “the condition of being unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing.”
If you’re suffering from writer’s block, it means that you are either having difficulty starting or that you’re stuck somewhere in the middle and are having a hard time moving on.
If you’re preparing for the upcoming NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) or are still unsure if you are participating, you might find this post especially useful.
In order to overcome writer’s block there are a few things to keep in mind:
Here are a few tips to help you when you can’t start writing:
When you prepare beforehand, you subconsciously help your mind to get into the right mood. It’s unlikely that you will sit down and start writing if you haven’t even thought about the topic or matter. So, plan ahead.
Eliminate all the distractions around you so that nothing will interrupt your focus. It’s important that you have peace of mind and that you are allowed to explore and follow your train of thought (see the Fishing Line Technique) so as to remain in the flow.
Start and write anything that comes to your mind. It could be about the things you are surrounded by or why you don’t have an idea, why you don’t like the topic, or why everything you’re writing is stupid. Just performing the pure act of writing will make it easier to later switch to the actual topic you want to write about.
Start by asking questions. You can use the old 5 W’s rule. If you know the questions, it will be much more easier to write the answers.
Sometimes you know certain aspects that you definitely wanna address or include in your writing piece. Once you’ve pointed out a few key points, you can start by laying out those things in more detail and later on fill in the gaps of the missing parts.
Take away the pressure and think like you are writing to somebody you like or a close friend.
Here are a few tips to help you when you’re stuck in your writing:
If you’re stuck, it’s likely that what you have written before got you into this situation. Try to revisit what you have so far and work on the last part of your writing.
Change your environment and do something else; come back to it later and re-approach the topic.
Get an overview of where you are right now, what else you could include, or from which other angles you could approach the topic. You can do this alone or get a friend’s perspective on it.
If writing is hard you can try to dictate and record your thoughts. Speaking is a way of letting your thoughts flow instead of being stuck on the right phrasing or searching for the right words.
Writing is like exercising, so try to make it a habit and schedule a time to practice. Frequent practice will make you not only a better writer but it will also allow you to overcome writer’s block more easily.
These are just a few things you can do to overcome writer’s block. The importance is that you don’t beat yourself up and keep writing.