Lack of inspiration? No motivation to write? Overcoming writers block isn’t just about knowing how to start writing and keep writing – it’s about what works for you. These tips are from experienced freelance writers, successful novelists, and writing coaches.
Before the tips, a quip:
“I’m writing a book. I’ve got the page numbers done.” ~ Steven Wright.
That’s a fine example of writer’s block — when the only thing more blank than the screen in front of you is your mind (as quipped by editor Stephen Blake Mettee).
By the way, I heard bestselling author Bob Mayer speak at the Surrey International Writers’ Conference last year. When asked if he struggles with writer’s block, he said he can’t afford to. He has bills to pay, mouths to feed, mortgages to keep up on, etc….writer’s block isn’t part of his career.
If you need writing prompts, read The Writer’s Block: 786 Ideas to Jump-Start Your Imagination.
And, see if there’s something in these tips that may help you overcome writers block.
Tips for Overcoming Writers Block
“Turn off the television, turn off your Blackberry, stop paging through all those news aggregate sites, and Just Write!” - Jen Miner, writer and blogger.
Does this seems easier said than done? Then check these writing tips out…
Forget the writer’s muse
“Most successful writers sit down at their computers every day and get to work, whether they’re feeling particularly ’inspired’ at that moment or not. Sometimes the inspiration doesn’t come until you’ve slogged through some hard work and drudgery first.” – Barbara Kerley, award-winning children’s book author, with 8 books published and 2 on the way.
Chew off one bite at a time
“The idea of writing a book is, for most of us, an enormous undertaking. To think we can do it in a big chunk is self-sabotage. It’s like the old story of how you eat an elephant- one bite at a time. By chopping the book process down to a page a day, you’ll be more inclined to begin. Once you do that, your already moving toward writing your book.” – Jim Donovan, author, speaker, business coach
Write even when you feel blocked or uninspired
“We writers tend to indulge ourselves; we’re quick to acknowledge each distraction or tiny pain or lowered feeling. Much as we are driven to write, we feel that we must be in the mood to write — as if the clouds will part, the sun will shine and every possible interruption will be silenced, and then it will be time to write. A professor in my freshman year at the University at Buffalo said to me, “None of that matters. Write anyway. Don’t think about how you feel or if it’s a perfect time to write or that you have a thousand other things to do. Write anyway. You have nothing to share and nothing to sell if there are no words on the page.” So “write anyway” became my mantra, and I write a thousand words a day, every day.” – Randi Minetor, author and freelance writer.
Create a “to do” list for your book that doesn’t involve writing
“I don’t believe in writer’s block (I’m not the most popular person at a writer’s conference, as you can imagine). Here’s the deal: when I work with folks I tell them to outline the book from start to finish. Chapter by chapter and then create a “to do” list from each chapter: research, permissions, character development, whatever. This gives them a running list of things to do, so if they don’t feel like writing, they can still move the book forward. This works for fiction and non-fiction.” – Penny C. Sansevieri, writers’ coach
Set specific writing goals
“Give yourself a short increment of time (15 minutes) and force yourself to write non-stop for that length of time. Treat yourself to a bathroom break, YouTube video or piece of chocolate when you finish your time.” – Nicole Amsler, freelance copywriter
Learn how to overcome perfectionism
“Many an article was never written because of the writer’s fear of not being good enough! It probably won’t be the last time you’ll ever get a chance to write on this very topic, so do the best you can and leave it at that. You can always tackle the subject from another angle or include different quotes for another publication in the future.” – Peggy Hall, veteran freelance writer
If you can’t seem to start or keep writing, read How to Write When You Think You Can’t.
Have you wrestled with your writing — how do you overcome writer’s block? Please comment below…