How to handle writer’s block

…from arguably the most frequently blocked writer.

I had a think about what to tell you in my latest post and it dawned on me that one thing I know far too much about, other than The Sims, Vampire Diaries, and Doctor Who, is the dreaded writer’s block. I have been blocked so, so many times since I started writing ‘properly’, and the truth of the matter is that I’m by no means unique in this. What I can do, though, is offer you some tips on what to, and what not to do, when you’re blocked.

5 tips to get over your block

  1. Breathe. As frustrating as being blocked is, it isn’t the end of the world. Even if there is a deadline looming. Take a moment, a week, a month, to step away from the work. Come back to it with fresh eyes and you might just spot the problem that caused the block.
  2. Read. Reading is writer’s best friend. It’s research, it’s fun, and it teaches us what we do and don’t like in literature. So if something isn’t working in your world, step into somebody else’s. The best inspiration I have found has been in the style of another author.
  3. Talk. In this wonderful world of social media we are better equipped than ever to deal with the stumbling blocks of being a creator. I know that if I posted about being blocked and needing advice/support/a drinking buddy I would receive it almost instantaneously. So use it, reach out to the rest of us and we will help you!
  4. Create. One of the best things I have come across as an author of Instagram is this: if you are blocked, write a scene from another character’s point of view. It might be what the antagonist was up to right at the beginning as you introduced your protagonist, or it might be how a minor character truly felt in a poignant scene.
  5. Move. Take some time away from the work to do something different. As writers we are blessed with the most inconvenient moments of inspiration; in the middle of work, on the drive home, anywhere we don’t have a pen and paper to hand. So get out and about and let your mind wander, it’ll always come home in the end.

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What not to do (aka what I always do)

  1. Panic. Writer’s block does not make you a terrible writer. It does not render you incapable of telling a decent story. It definitely doesn’t spell the end for your WIP. See tip 1 for what to do instead.
  2. Throw it away. Do not, and I repeat, DO NOT throw your work away. Even if it is rubbish and you can’t believe you just wrote that down. Kind of like when you say something in conversation and can’t believe you said it out loud. Your brain did it for a reason, keep it.
  3. Throw anything else. While it may help with the frustration, a cracked phone does not a literary masterpiece make. Trust me.
  4. Compare yourself to other writers. Every writer gets blocked. We even make cute quotes about how our characters just stopped talking to us to make it sound better. I know for a fact I’ve upset my main character with a plot line and it has taken her two months to start talking to me again. It’s a thing. We work with it.

What do you do when blocked? Let me know in the comments!

-L

3 thoughts on “How to handle writer’s block

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