Writer’s block is something almost everyone experiences while writing a book. The most important thing to understand is that it doesn’t have to inhibit you from writing your book. And learning how to overcome writer’s block can be met with harsh criticism.
Learn How to Overcome Writer’s Block
Just remember, it’s your journey and you are in control. Use these strategies to overcome writer’s block and finish writing your story!
Talk to Yourself
If it’s a scene you’re having trouble with, try to talk through it. Guess what your characters might say and go from there. Basically, just role-play the scene by yourself and see where it takes you. Who knows—you might just find something totally awesome to throw into your novel!
Get Yourself Out of “the Norm”
If you always write in your home office, take a field trip to a local coffee shop or cupcakery. If you’re always out and about, try either working from home or someplace new and exciting. Maybe your mind is just getting tired of the same, old surroundings. Try a local park, the zoo or aquarium, local market, or even just that new bakery down the street you’ve been meaning to try.
Take a Trip, or Visit Someplace New Around Town
If you have some free time coming up, plan a trip. It doesn’t have to be anything big or extravagant. Even just a day at the beach or “in the” city or mountains is enough. The goal is to do the unfamiliar and put your body in unfamiliar territory. You don’t even have to bring your laptop or a notebook to write, because your mind will awaken by simply experiencing something new.
Chug Coffee or Eat an Entire Half-Gallon of Ice Cream. Or Both.
Let’s face it. Sometimes there are just days that slog and drag and go on forever. It’s during these times we need to put all vanity aside and chug (or gorge) the sustenance we need to persevere, to finish that scene, or finish that novel!
Write for Yourself
The goal is to remind yourself why you love to write, and the best way to do that is to get back to the basics. And in this case, the basics include simply stepping away from the story that’s causing you stress and frustration and free-writing whatever is on your mind: another story, personal writing, venting—whatever!
Read a Short Novel Straight Through
Sometimes, the only kick in the butt I need is to remember that other people have had book ideas and actually followed through. Basically, that they’ve done an idea proud.
Pick a novel, my suggestion is something less-than 300 pages (so you can easily finish within a day) and start reading. Some people suggest listening to podcasts, but I always thought reading a book in the genre you’re writing was a better idea…
Just Skip It
Just skip it. To clarify, I don’t mean skip the whole book—just the scene or chapter you’re working on. Moving on is actively progressing, even if the words you meant to write (in that last chapter) aren’t yet on the page.
Your mind moves forward and onto the future scenes, and you can always go back and add those sections later. Sometimes when I go back to editing (after I’ve finished my manuscript), there are giant red letters in certain spots to remind me that I totally didn’t finish that section.
Those spots are tough, but not finishing your manuscript is even tougher.
Re-read the Last Chapter You Wrote Without Editing
If there have been a few days between writing sessions, or even just a crazy-hectic day, you might want to re-read the last chapter to remember when the heck is going on. You might also re-read your outline if you have one.
Do a Writing Sprint… or 10
Writing sprints are great even if you aren’t having trouble because typically there’s a consequence of not finishing. Start with short, 10-minute sprints and work your way up to longer times. Find your sweet spot at whatever time you find most comfortable.
There are a few great writing sprint platforms online that offer tangible incentives to KEEP WRITING. Some platforms start backspacing your text or a loud buzzer blares through your speakers.
Remember, you can fix bad words later. However, you can’t fix blank space. I mean, you can, but that’s what the writing sprints are for.
Ask Yourself: Could it be burnout?
It won’t always be but asking yourself this question is good practice. Recognizing burnout is an even better practice. Why? Because burnout might cause you to take months or years away from your passion… and all because you couldn’t take a breather once a week.
Start Your Sessions With 10 Minutes of Free Writing
Freewriting helps get the gunk in your head out and onto paper, so you don’t have to slush through it while you’re trying to get into the thick of your writing.
Instead of just opening your current WIP, open a fresh Word document and start writing. It doesn’t have to be about your novel, it just has to be words. It doesn’t even really have to make sense if that’s what you’re feeling that day.
When you’re done (and it doesn’t have to be just 10 minutes—just don’t get too carried away), briefly read over what you’ve written and saved it. If it’s novel-related, you might even manage to work it in somewhere!
Join a Community & Connect
The best thing we can do as writers is support one another. You don’t have to agree with everyone but being nice can go a long way for everyone’s morale. The writing community is ripe with potential friends and writing partners, so don’t be afraid to reach out! But be careful, because you might just find yourself procrastinating while you’re out there making friends!
Just Start Writing Your Novel
At the end of the day, this is the only thing that matters. You’ll never finish your manuscript if you stop now. So, keep going. Find whatever method and mindset works for you and make it the best time ever!
The best way to overcome writer’s block is to keep writing, keep chugging along your path and your writing senses will eventually catch up to you. Just like any relationship, sluggish moments are inevitable, but these tips will definitely help you determine if it’s just a passing phase or something more serious.