Writer’s Block: What It Is and 9 Tips on How to Overcome It

Introduction:

Renowned American horror author Stephen King once said: “The scariest moment is always just before your start.”

Picture this: you are at home, sitting comfortably in your favorite place. You are in front of your computer, ready to write, and you keep thinking about the last scene you wrote and reread it once again. Your mind goes blank.

You know you should continue your writing. Still, you’re unsure how to begin.

If you’re a writer, I’m sure that situation is familiar to you, and some writers call it “writer’s block.”

Experiencing writer’s block can be frustrating and negatively affect your creativity. Still, everything has a solution!

In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know regarding writer’s block, including what it is and how to overcome it.

SEE ALSO: Avoiding Burnout as an Author: Reigniting Your Writing Passion

SEE ALSO: Productivity Myths as Authors

What is Writer’s Block?

Writer’s block is when you know you should be writing and you’re about to do it, but for some reason, you don’t know what to write or what you should do next.

For some reason, you feel your mind is blocked from any spark of creativity that may come your way. It can be frustrating, and over time, it can make the writing task a bit tedious.

When I first started writing, I remember experiencing writer’s block quite often. In my case, my writer’s block was based on the idea that what I was going to write wasn’t going to be good enough, so I didn’t write anything, and on top of that, I was frustrated because I didn’t write anything!

As writers, it’s challenging to not be a victim of this. However, there are many ways to avoid it and overcome it.

Keep reading to know what to do when you have writer’s block.

1. Reread Your Favorite Books

When I get writer’s block, one of the things that help me is to seek inspiration from my favorite writers.

When I read a book, I highlight the parts I like the most, so I can reread them later. After I’ve finished the book, I ask myself what I enjoyed about that part. Was it the rhythm or the writing style? What other things could have happened?

By rereading your favorite books, you put your mind to work on a subconscious level.

In my case, my favorite author to reread is Virginia Woolf. I love the way she writes paragraphs that seem to flow so easily! Remember, the next time you get writer’s block, you can reread your favorite author. 

Overall, reading also helps you to get better at writing, so it’s a win-win! 

2. Get Away from Distractions

It might sound like an obvious answer on how to get over writer’s block, but at the same time, it’s one of those tips that is easier said than done.

My favorite method includes the Pomodoro method, where you work without distractions for 25 minutes and then make a short break of typically 5 minutes.

Still, what works for me might now work for you, so research time management methods and see which ones you can use the next time you need help with writer’s block. 

3. Talk With a Friend

It doesn’t have to be a friend who is a writer, but rather someone you enjoy talking to and who can provide a fresh point of view.

Sometimes when we are stuck on a blank page, we need to focus on something else before going back to writing. Having a conversation with a friend can help you with this!

I remember once having trouble writing a scene where two of my characters realized that everything that had happened up to that point was a misunderstanding. I had a hard time figuring out how to develop the scene! Since my friend only knew the story from what I had told her, she provided a fresh perspective. In the end, it was simpler than what I had imagined.

Next time you wonder how to get past writer’s block, consider calling a friend. As a writer, I can tell you that the best ideas come from the most unexpected places.

4. Watch a Movie

It might sound like a weird thing to do to overcome writer’s block. 

However, it works! It’s the equivalent of talking to a friend without actually talking to someone.

Watching a movie is a way to distract yourself, and if you decide to watch with a critical eye, you will realize there are so many tropes, plot twists, and literary devices that movies use.

The next time you have writer’s block, consider watching a movie. After the movie, you can ask yourself what parts you liked and why. It can help you understand what might work for your book or not.

Besides, watching a good movie is a great way to get inspiration for dialogue and physical expression.

Personally, I love Christopher Nolan movies! The way he presents plot twists in his films makes him a master of foreshadowing and symbolism.

Grab your popcorn and turn on the TV!

5. Rewrite

Writing takes time. Sometimes it can be frustrating to not know what to write and spend what you feel like hours in front of your laptop.

If you’re like me, who starts to worry when the minutes pass, and you haven’t written anything, the best you can do is to do something else.

One of the things you can do is to rewrite.

Some authors recommend rewriting entire scenes entirely instead of just changing some bits. It’s a piece of good advice, but I recommend only doing it with certain chapters or scenes. Otherwise, you will never finish your book!

SEE ALSO: Finding Time to Write with a Busy Schedule

6. Do Your Research

Some people say you should write about what you already know, but that’s far from the truth. My favorite part about writing a story is to do research!

I remember writing a story set in Russia and spending hours searching for squares, parks, and lakes in St. Petersburg, where I wanted my characters to interact.

If you’re stuck on a scene, try doing your research. Even if you are writing non-fiction, there is always something new to learn.

If you do your research, you can guarantee your readers a realistic depiction of anything you want to include in your book.

7. Write Something Different

We already know how crucial it is to write every single day, but here’s a different tip. If sometimes you feel like you’re stuck on a scene, you can try writing another one.

You can try working on a scene near the end of your story. Sometimes you may know how your book ends but are unsure how things will develop until that point.

By working on a particular final scene, you can let your imagination unravel and try other ideas for what might happen.

8. Outline Your Book

Some people say there are two types of writers: pantsers and plotters.

Pantsers like to write as they go. Do not expect a detailed plan for what will happen. They will write. It comes naturally for them.

Plotters, on the other hand, are way more organized. They like to have control of what they will write and when.

Before all the pantsers come to me, I will tell you something. As a plotter, I have found that outlining your story makes you save time!

Instead of asking myself what would happen every time I saw the blank page, I started asking myself how it would happen. That way, I knew what I would write before writing it.

9. Take a Break

If nothing works, the best tip I can give you is to take a break.

Drink water, cuddle with your pet, or talk with your plants. Whatever works for you to overcome writer’s block is a valid activity.

Keep in mind, by taking a break, I’m not saying you should scroll endlessly on social media. Your eyes need a break too. So preferably, engage in outdoor activities.

Next time you wonder how to cure writer’s block, you can try taking a break.

Conclusion:

Writer’s block is something any writer can be a victim of. Once it has happened, it’s hard to guarantee it won’t happen again.

Still, there is always a solution to these creative blocks, such as rewriting, talking with a friend, and watching a movie.

Next time you feel like you have writer’s block, you can try any of the techniques in this article. Who knows? Maybe, besides overcoming writer’s block, you might come up with new ideas for your story.

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