Posted by: nancycurteman | December 11, 2017

How to Conquer Writers’ Block

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Most authors will have to search out ways to conquer writers’ block at some time in their professional career. Writers’ block can occur at any time during the creation of a writing piece. It can occur before you begin a novel or at the beginning of a new chapter or even while you’re well into the story and trying to tie up threads you’ve created.

Causes of writers’ block can vary. Two of the most common reasons are insisting on a perfect draft—anything from laboring over a chapter or a scene or sentence or even seeking the perfect word can lead to frustration and writers’ block. The second major cause is waiting for inspiration. This passive activity rarely succeeds. The fact is your muse usually will not show up unless you engage in writing.

There are ways to combat writers’ block. Here are a few tried and true strategies that have worked for authors:

  • Write. Just hit the keyboard and type anything that comes to mind. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar. In short, no editing. You may set goals if you like such as 200 words or 3 pages or five minutes. That’s up to you. The important thing is to get words on the screen.
  • Brainstorm. Make lists of words. If you have a topic, choose words that relate to it. Do not outline while brainstorming. Simply let your mind run rampant through your brain, gathering any words that tickle your fancy. By the way, save your list of words. You may use some of them later.
  • Research. This is one of my favorite writers’ block busters. It’s very effective if you know your topic or already have an outline of your plot. But even if you don’t it will stimulate your interest and creativity. I love it because I always stumble on interesting items. Often I can work the new items into my story.
  • Where to begin. This decision is often not well considered. You may automatically decide to start with the first line on the first page of the first chapter. If you’re blocked, get out of that rut. Launch your story wherever you like. Some authors write the end of their story first. Choose a chapter or a scene that interests you and dive right in. You’ll find that the beginning will come more easily after you stop pounding on it as if it were a brick wall. And you don’t have to complete a scene or chapter before you move on. You can attack it again in your rewrites.
  • Go for a walk. As you walk, let your mind wander through your scene or chapter allowing interruptions to gaze at a flower or the sky or whatever. No pressure. I do a lot of my writing mentally as I walk because ideas pop into my mind seemingly out of nowhere.
  • Read a book. You can get inspired and learn writing strategies from reading good authors just as artists learn painting techniques from observing great paintings.
  • Accept your sloppy first draft. Embrace your first draft for what it is—a skeleton. Just write as fast as you can to finish the novel. You’ll flesh it out when you edit and rewrite. Remember, writing is really rewriting.
  • Join a critique group. A critique group not only helps you improve your writing, it also forces you to complete writing pieces on a regular basis to share with the members.

I’ve listed several strategies authors have used to conquer writers’ block. Perhaps you have some strategies that have worked for you. Please consider sharing them with my followers.

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