Writer's Block 101

By: Gina Simoncelli

Writer’s Block. This dreaded ailment strikes when you least expect it and hits you like a bad cold; it’s frustrating, makes it impossible for you to work, and it can leave you with one whammy of a headache. Writer’s block can be all too familiar to writers, whether they’re putting pen to paper for the first time or they’re halfway through their tenth novel. It’s easy to feel discouraged when you just can’t get your ideas in motion, which is why the writer’s block bug comes with one pretty deadly side effect: if left untreated, it can stop writers from writing altogether.

Scary? Yes, but luckily all hope is not lost if (and, inevitably, when) you find yourself feeling blocked. Just like the common cold, there is no single “cure” for writer’s block, but there are a number of tricks and exercises you can use to remedy your block and get your creative juices flowing again. So grab a cup of tea and some tissues, but more importantly grab a notebook, a computer, a typewriter, or maybe even some chalk and crayons and give these home remedies a try!

1. Change it up. Have you been staring at the same unchanging word document for two hours? Is the whiteness of your blank notebook starting to burn your eyes? Is there a permanent crick in your neck from hunching over your desk all day? If any of these scenarios resonate with you, it may be time for a change of scenery. Try writing outside, in a library, in a café, or maybe in your car, at the beach, or in the middle of the woods—anywhere different is good!

2. Freewrite. If you find yourself getting stuck on the nitty gritty of an idea that just isn’t forming sentences yet, freewriting may help you get over that sentence structure speed bump. Set a timer and then sit down and write whatever comes to mind for five minutes straight. This can be purely a stream of consciousness; no need to worry about punctuation or forming complete sentences, just write!

3. Take a break. Nothing good ever comes if you try to force it, and writing is no exception. Give yourself a break, but if possible do something that will help you to feel more recharged and inspired. Try going for a walk or a run to help you to clear your mind and get your blood flowing, or maybe brew a cup of coffee and revisit a favorite book. Just remember, breaks only work if you go back to your writing afterwards! Don’t let a break turn into forever.

4. Create a routine. Finding the time and the frame of mind to sit down and write can be tough, especially if you’ve got the writer’s block blues. Scheduling a time for yourself that is solely designated to writing and sticking to that routine can help to put you in the writing mood and keep you there. Don’t feel obligated to use this time to keep trudging through a specific project if you’re feeling stuck—try writing something new, short or long, prose or poetry; just to get yourself in the writing spirit and keep yourself moving.

5. Limit your distractions. You know what that means: no phone, no social media, and definitely no TV! Try to make your writing time exclusively writing time. Finally, perhaps the most frustrating and yet inevitably the most effective remedy for writers block…

6. Write! This may feel like an impossible solution to the problem of writer’s block, but the only way to get writing again is simply... to get writing again. Don’t sit around waiting for inspiration to strike; seek it out, hunt it, chase it! Whatever you do, don’t let your writer’s block stop you in your tracks. Keep moving, keep working, and most importantly, keep writing!

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Don't forget, if you find that none of the items above are helping, you can reach out to our team members at any time for free guidance and support. Their professional experience, unbiased perspectives, and genuine passion for writing will have you moving forward again in no time. Shoot us an email at storysharesteam@gmail.com! 

Louise Baigelman