Don’t you just hate writer’s block?
Sometimes it strikes, and it strikes hard.
Some days I have the hardest time writing. It can be hard to motivate myself to turn on the computer and start. Or I’m sitting at the computer but the words just aren’t coming. I’m checking my word count every other word. It feels impossible just to write a few decent sentences. Some days are harder than others.
Other days I have the easiest time writing. I’m motivated and my hands can’t type as fast as my brain is thinking. Words are flowing and advancing the plot or deepening the character development in ways I never dreamed possible. The words on the page surprise me sometimes. But they feel right. They feel natural. Before I know it I’ve reached or exceeded my word count goal. Some days are easier than others.
That’s because there are ways to combat writer’s block. Tricks to keep it at bay and avoid it interfering with your precious writing time. Because we all know time to write is precious and sometimes hard to come by. So when we do have the time to write, we want it to be a productive writing session. Not a “I just stared at my screen for an hour” writing session. Although it’s okay to have those days too!
8 Ways to Combat Writer’s Block
These 8 tricks help channel my creative juices. They help put me in the right mindset for a productive writing session. When I use these tricks to combat writer’s block, I stay motivated and focused. Everything seems to go more smoothly when I’m proactive about fighting writer’s block. Not only do I write faster, I write better.
I know from personal experience that the tricks I’m about to share work for me. I think it will be beneficial to you as well, but some of the tips may not help you. Every writer has to find what works for them. I hope these steps will inspire you to know what will help you combat writer’s block.
1. Get Ready
A good first step is getting ready for the day. For me, this means taking a shower and doing my hair and makeup. Making sure I’m wearing something comfortable. If my hair isn’t clean or done I feel lazy and unproductive. If I’m ready for the day and feel clean and presentable, it’s so much easier to motivate myself to get things done. Getting ready for the day also helps me feel awake and alert. I can think better and that helps me write better. When I present my best self, I can accomplish my best work.
2. Write on a Full Stomach
It’s going to be hard to combat writer’s block if you are distracted by hunger. Writing on a full stomach helps me focus. Food gives me energy and helps me focus. I definitely feel better when I eat before I write. If I’ve eaten something before I start writing I’m also less likely to use hunger as an excuse to leave the room and procrastinate writing.
3. Have Water with You
I always make sure my water bottle is full and accessible before I start writing. Having water with me gives me one less excuse to leave the room. If I’m trying to find excuses to get up, I’m not going to be very focused on my writing. If I leave to go get my water bottle, sometimes I come back to my computer hours later. Sometimes I don’t come back. And I don’t want writer’s block to have that power over me! Drinking water as I write also keeps me hydrated and able to think and write better.
4. Keep Your Area Distraction Free
Before I sit down, I make sure my writing space is free from any distractions. A clean area is essential if I want to write well. So I always spend a few minutes tidying up my desk and surrounding space before I’m ready to write. Sometimes this even means taking the trash out or picking things up off the floor. The cleaner my writing environment is, the more likely I’m going to be able to combat writer’s block. Keeping my area distraction free can also mean silencing my phone and avoiding Facebook. If I’m constantly checking text messages or Facebook notifications it takes time away from writing and I have to remember what I was trying to write. It slows me down and disrupts my writing flow.
You never know when writer’s block will strike so be sure to save this post to Pinterest!
5. Read before You Write
If I’m struggling to get my mind to focus on my writing, I try to read someone else’s writing. Whether it’s reading the genre I write or a book about writing, sometimes reading before I write is just what I need to kick those creative juices into gear and combat writer’s block. Reading prepares my mind to write as I read good examples of my genre or as I learn from a book about writing. Reading is a good warm-up activity to do before writing. Even if it’s just 10 or 15 minutes.
6. Have a Goal or Vision for the Day
If I have a goal for the writing session, it is so much easier to be productive and stay focused. I can’t have writer’s block if I give myself a task for the writing session. Sometimes it’s a small goal to write a certain amount of words or to write for a certain time limit. Other times I set a goal to focus on character development or natural dialogue or plot. Having a vision for the day keeps me focused on why I’m writing and makes writing more exciting! This is probably one of the best ways to combat writer’s block.
7. Indulge Your Quirky Writing Habits
Don’t we all have quirky habits that help us write? One of mine is painting my nails. I don’t know why it helps, but I love to write when my nails are painted. I used to specifically paint my nails before writing a term paper, and if I’m struggling to write painting my nails can help me feel more motivated. Our quirky habits infuse us with creativity and make writing more enjoyable. Maybe it’s a candle in the background, or your favorite pair of socks. Whatever helps you get into the writing mindset can help you combat writer’s block.
What quirky writing habits do you have?
8. Keep a Writer’s Notebook
Having a writer’s notebook on hand will give you a constant source of things to write about it. Write down everything in your writer’s notebook. Thoughts for story ideas. Experiences you remember from your childhood. Tastes, smells, and sights as you go to a farmer’s market. Anything and everything! Don’t hesitate to write things down. Don’t question their relevance. It’s better to write it down and not use it than to not have written it down and realize it would have been useful. Besides, often times you can write something random and later play around with how it might be part of a current story or the bud of a new one.
While these tips definitely make it easier for me to write, it doesn’t make my writing perfect. I still need to revise. Often and heavily. But these tips do help me combat writer’s block.
How do you combat writer’s block? What do you do to keep yourself motivated to write?
Want more tips on preventing writer’s block? I did a whole series on the causes and cures of writer’s block!