Unblocking Writers’ Block

Writers Block

This condition gets its name from the actual block that seems to invade a writer’s mind, so that he or she is unable to start, or continue with his writing.

Writer’s block can afflict any part of novel writing, starting with an inability to come up with an inspiring idea in the first place. Mostly, though, it is associated with writing a first draft – with facing a blank sheet of paper (or a blank computer screen) and being quite incapable of writing a single word.

The following tips taken from The Write Practice site, will assist you as a writer in combating this demon.

This week we look at first five tips. On Monday we’ll look at the next four.

Tips for Beating Writer’s Block

  1. Take your Time

Writing a novel isn’t a race. Nobody is timing you, so work at your own pace and enjoy yourself. Yes, I know that’s kind of obvious, but you’d be amazed how many people view novel writing as some kind of ordeal.

Paradoxically, the less you worry about reaching the end, the sooner you will get there. Why? Because you won’t be struck down by writer’s block along the way.

If you set yourself large daily targets, you will fail to start hitting them sooner or later and the whole project will come to a crashing halt.

If you vow to spend just 30 minutes in your writing room every day, no matter how few words you produce, the odds are that your inner-muse will thrive. And if you still only manage a single paragraph? So what?

If it takes you twelve months to produce your masterpiece, that’s great. If it takes you twelve years, that’s great, too. So long as you have fun along the way, who’s counting?

  1. Keep your Eyes on the Road Ahead

The fact that writing a novel means producing several hundred pages of prose is enough all by itself for a bad case of writer’s block to strike. And that is precisely why you mustn’t think of writing fiction in those terms.

Writing several hundred pages of prose is scary, but writing just one or two pages – or even one or two paragraphs – isn’t scary. So just focus on what you would like to achieve today (the small next step you need to take) and ignore the thousands of steps to come. You will be amazed how quickly the pages will pile up.

  1. Write in the Right Environment

Writing fiction demands concentration. If you cannot free yourself from distractions at home, find somewhere quieter to work – the park, the library, the car, wherever. Comfort is important, too. It is hard to focus on the mind if the body is not relaxed.

Personally, I write first drafts in longhand sitting in a comfortable armchair. That’s because I can’t get creative on a computer and I can’t get comfortable sitting at a desk, not for long periods. But whatever works for you is what is best.

“There’s only one person who needs a glass of water oftener than a small child tucked in for the night, and that’s a writer sitting down to write.”
– Mignon McLaughlin

  1. Plan What to Say in Advance

There is a great temptation with beginners to skip through the planning phase of the novel writing process at breakneck speed so they can get to the exciting part: writing a first draft.

Big mistake.

Writer’s block often strikes when you try to do two things at once – planning what to say and working out how to say it. Planning is largely a left-brain activity carried out by your inner-critic, while drafting the novel is a right-brain artistic one. The left half of the brain is the logical side and the right half the creative, intuitive side and, as you know, they don’t work well together.

Plunging straight into the first draft without planning roughly what you will say means you will have to plan at the same time as writing. But if you already have the main details worked out before you write, you only have to worry about the language itself.

-The Write Practice

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