Writers’ block is common. In fact, it’s so common that there have been countless posts on how to avoid it, and how to cure it if it’s there already.
Some people say there is no such thing as writers’ block. It’s just an excuse for procrastination. After all, these people say, how many other professions are there in which one can say he can’t work because he has a block? Is there a bricklayers’ block or something? Are we missing something?
I think we can all safely say that there is a thing called writers’ block. It’s not the same for everyone. Some people may be so talented or get extremely lucky to the point that they don’t get writers’ block, ever. That’s a good thing. But the vast majority of writers have had to face writers’ block at least once in their career. At least once, they were attacked by it. But they managed to fight it, and defeat it well too. Can we do the same?
What a silly question. Yes, you heard it right: the answer is a loud “Yes!”.
So let’s learn how, without further wasting time…
Defeat writers’ block with these ten tips
- Do something else. The best and most common tip ever. It’s always recommended to write regularly, but too much of a good thing is usually a bad thing, and this is not an exception for writers’ block. If your brain gets over-taxed, you don’t have an option to do anything but something else. Go for a long walk. Practise your other favourite hobby. Read a good novel. Do something recreational. It’s the best method and the most guaranteed – you will see positive results.
- Write something else. Maybe your problem is more genre-related. Maybe you’re writing too much in one genre. That’s what happened to me, and I solved the problem by changing my writing genre for a while (from blogging to fiction). So if you get writers’ block when you get down to write that super duper novel which is so excellent, maybe it’s time to take a break from that and focus on some creative nonfiction. The examples are generic, but the conclusion is: if you get the dreaded block in one genre, try another.
- Don’t write what you don’t like (and what’s boring). When in writing, you get writers’ block because you’re forced to write something which bores you to tears, then the solution is simple: just don’t do it. In fiction, writers commonly get writers’ block when they write the transitional scenes. So skip that, and act as if nothing happened. You will thank yourself for it, but even better, your readers will thank you for it.
- Try a different writing style. This is a big one! Writers get tired with one voice if they use it for long, and if it isn’t really good in the first place. So if you’re tired writing formal letters, try writing the informal ones (and vice versa). But it goes beyond voice. Tired of writing the post headline and introduction first in blogging? Well, start with your conclusion and work backwards. Tired of writing in the same word processor with the same font and the same aesthetics (format)? Try a different one. In this way, experiment and try new things, and your block will disappear as if it never existed.
- Try a different writing medium. Another big one! There are primarily two writing mediums: pen and paper and the computer. So if you’re tired of writing on the keyboard, think as if it never existed and take out your paper and pen. When you write with pen on paper, you don’t get the privilege to erase what you write and keep editing endlessly. That’s a good thing. But the tips don’t stop just here. Even in paper, there are distinctions. First of all there is the good old notebook (or note pad or writing pad). Journals, big exercise books, college books, spiral books and more. Try them all out: variety is the spice of life. Once again, this moves you forward in your battle against writers’ block.
- Get creative. This is kind of related to the previous point. Writers get tired writing with one style, writing with one pen, writing on the same paper, or just doing what has been done before. So a popular advice is to get creative. Use a funky pen. Try a special handwriting font. Try the black background with the green font. Go crazy with line breaks. The thing is, you must break out of the mold. Do something different, something special. Something which will, once again, help you defeat that writers’ block monster.
- Cut out the filler words, the needless words, adjectives and adverbs. Filler words like “very,” “really,” etc. cut out the life from your writing, and set the stage for writers’ block attack. As the famous quote from Strunk & White says, omit needless words. That’s not to say that you must omit words unnecessarily. Cut only which is not awesome – keep the great stuff! And there are the adjectives and adverbs. More often than not, they can be replaced by strong verbs. If you do this, not only will your writing get more magnetic, writers’ block will be on its knees and get nearly defeated.
- Write with heart, not because you have to. And this is related to your heart, and how much you like writing. As I’ve said many times before, you must love writing if you want to be good at it. Don’t think of it as a job. Think of it as something you like to do, as something you can’t do without. You don’t have to write everyday. But just write with heart, write with feelings and emotions, not dry figures (although this is not to say that you shouldn’t write dry figures; as everyone knows they are extremely important). To write with heart you must have a subject that you like, a language that you are familiar with, and words that are your friends. Seems difficult – it is. But is there anything easy in the world of writing?
- Keep writing. The above tips do work, but another extremely common tip is to, well, keep writing. Keep fighting and keep solving the problems. It won’t be easy and it won’t be quick. But if you love writing, all of this is trivial, isn’t it?
See if you can contribute to this article by writing tip no. 10! Don’t forget to leave a comment if you do.
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There are no rules to beating writers block, just guidelines. (Damn you, ‘Pirates of the Caribbean.’)
Of course it’s just guidelines. Rules? Me thinks that there are no rules in the entire writing world. It’s one of the many great things about it!
There ARE SOME basic RULES of writing that pros know.
Wow! Impressive tips! To think that a 14 year old wrote this. I guess we have a lot to learnfrom the youth.
Wow, thanks! Glad that you think that these tips are impressive. They weren’t really easy to find — it was more a process of trial and error…
Anyway, thanks for the great comment.
1. Idrees is NOT 14 he looks so much older.
2. I dont see the #10, there were sopposed to be ten tips, NOT nine!!
3. For number ten i say write about something complet;y different, or distract yourself and go to the movies, or eat junk food ALL day long.
Idrees Patel says
1. Obviously, I am not 14-years-old now. The About page of Writers’ Treasure clearly states that “I am the founder of Writers’ Treasure, which I created in May 2010 when I was 13-years-old.” I was 14-years-old at the time of writing of this article, which was published in February 2011. Now, you can do the maths, and calculate my current age.
2. The tenth tip is supposed to be a user-generated tip.
Play with a new tone of voice and do that under a terrible hangover.
just now came to about writing skill, your tips are really very practical and precious for me, although i am not a writer but i like writing diary and fond of reading good books on every subject that i found interesting. I am new to this site, i’ll try to visit it regularly so that i can learn something. keep writing.My good wishes are always with you.
Thanks for such a nice comment!
Another Commenter says
I don’t thing that Writer’s Block will harm me again!
By the way, a tenth tip to defeating writers block could be:
Don’t follow the flow of modern culture. By the time you finish your novel/book/article/short story, that famous genre/ idea would not be so famous. Originality is the key.
Thanks for the good information, and to fellow writers, good luck!
Great tips man! They are quite helpful. Continue to do what you do buddy.