12 Tips for busting through writer’s block now
03/20/2023 Jennifer Harshman 0 Comments
Busting through writer’s block is one key for being productive with writing. Some people say they never experience this challenge. Others say they used to but managed to overcome it. Others cope with it often. First, what is writer’s block?
Writer’s block is the point at which a writer gets stuck regarding their writing. This gritty, dry cookie is commonly believed to be a complete lack of words. The writer sits down to write, but the words seem stuck behind a wall in their brain, unable to make the trip through the author’s fingers and onto the page.
Some people might experience writer’s block in this manner. I’ve found that it’s much more common for writer’s block to present in a different way.
The writer has far too many ideas for projects to work on and no direction or ability to prioritize or choose which one to work on first. Other writers have narrowed their list down to one project to work on, and they experience writer’s block as hundreds of ideas or words all flowing out of the brain in a jumbled, incoherent mess. The words and phrases zip through their mind so quickly that it’s impossible to grab onto one word or phrase and then complete the sentence. They also believe that they have to write their draft in complete sentences. What? A person doesn’t have to write complete sentences? Not in the dumping draft stage.
Is writer’s block just procrastination?
I wouldn’t say it’s “just” procrastination, but in any instance where someone needs to bust through writer’s block, the struggle can manifest as avoidance and procrastination. Have you ever wondered what causes the phenomenon we call writer’s block? There is no one-size-fits-all answer. Here are a few common causes:
- lack of confidence in their writing
- lack of confidence in the writing project
- fear of failure
- fear of success
- not seeing themselves as writers
- a general lack of confidence in themselves
- believing that writing will have some sort of negative impact on someone close to the writer
Ideas for busting through writer’s block
If you ever face writer’s block, finding the root cause of its occurrence in you may take a little bit of personal digging, prayer, and self-reflection. In the meantime, there are some simple tips you can use for busting through the block, and getting some work onto the page. Befitting the baking theme, there are a dozen.
- Use the Pomodoro Technique. In case you haven’t heard of this, I’ll explain it here. It involves setting a timer for a specific amount of time, usually 25 minutes. Try this adorable cupcake-shaped timer for your writing sessions. Just click it, and it will take you to the page on Amazon where you can purchase it. During the work time, you focus your attention on the writing at hand and ignore everything else. When the timer goes off, you take a 5-minute break to attend to something else. After those 5 minutes, you set another 25-minute timer and go back to writing. After a few rounds, you take a 15-minute break. I always recommend starting with two minutes on the work timer until you develop the habit. Over time, you can adjust the length of the work and break time. I prefer a 55/5 split, but I’ve been using intense writing times alternating with short breaks since the 1990s.
- Enlist the help of an accountability partner. This is someone to whom you must give an account of the progress you’ve made on your writing project.
- Start a routine that includes writing time. Don’t allow yourself to do anything else with that time. At first, you might be sitting there doing nothing for the entire length of your scheduled writing session. That’s okay. Producing words on demand is a habit that must be built. Eventually, your brain will get the message, and the words will start pouring out of you the moment you sit down.
- Create a reward system for yourself. One example of this might be to go for a walk in the park with your dog after you’ve written 1,000 words each day. Or, maybe you put a sticker on your planner for every 500 words you write. Create a reward system that motivates you. Despite the fact that this site and all of its products and services involve a baking theme and sweets galore, I really do advise against using food as a motivator or reward—especially foods that contain sugar.
- Track your word count daily in an app or spreadsheet. It’s fun and can be incredibly motivating to see that word count climb each day.
- Take a break from writing, and do something else that is creative.
- Change your writing environment. Trip to a coffee shop that sells scones, anyone?
- Read or listen to something that inspires you.
- Brainstorm ideas with a friend, or get their feedback. Often, talking gets the writing juices flowing and is great for busting through writer’s block.
- Take a walk, and observe your surroundings.
- Write about something completely unrelated to your project.
- Take a break and do something that relaxes you.
Don’t let anyone tell you that this challenge isn’t real. It is. But a productive writer develops ways of busting through writer’s block. For more tips, contact Jennifer Harshman, The Book Baker.®
Check out Your Book Bakery: 12 Weeks to a Manuscript.