26 ways to beat writer’s block
You’ve probably had trouble getting started with a piece of writing. We certainly have. So, inspired by Don Murray’s book Write to Learn, we put together our top tips for beating writer’s block.
26 ways to beat writer's block: our A-Z guide
We’ve used these tips in training sessions before. But we thought it was time to share them with a wider audience. So last week we tweeted the A-Z guide. Here are those tweets.
A. Are you worrying about what your reader will think? Try pretending you're writing to a friend to make it a bit less scary.
B. Bin the computer. Well, try turning it off at least. There's no point staring at a blank screen.
C. Chat to another writer about what you're trying to say. Make notes as you speak and you'll have the start of a structure.
D. Determine why you're stuck. Jot down a list of things that are stopping you writing. Then work out how to beat them.
E. Endings can be a good place to start. Try beginning there and working backwards.
F. Find out how other writers do it. Ask around for the best ways to beat the block.
G. Get up and write every day. If it becomes a habit then getting started won't seem such a big deal.
H. Have a set time of day for writing. You might be less inhibited by your inner critic if you work at night.
I. It's just a first draft. Stop aiming for perfection and write freely. Remember, you can cut anything you don't like later.
J. Jog, run, dance, swim, lift weights or ride a unicycle. Go and do some exercise and put writing to the back of your mind.
K. Kick off by writing the easy bits. Come back to the tricky parts later, once you're warmed up.
L. Lighten up. Writing is supposed to be fun. Give yourself a reward when you've had a good week. We enjoy a trip to the zoo.
M. Map your writing. Get a really big piece of paper and draw what you're trying to say. The words will follow.
N. Never get too worried about writer's block. Being worked up only makes it even harder to write.
O. Open your mind to new ideas. Getting stuck may be a sign you need to change the way you work.
P. Put someone else's name on it. It will make you less self-conscious if you don't write as yourself.
Q. Quit. Give up and come back to it later. While you're away, your subconscious will be mulling things over.
R. Read instead. If you can't write, spend a day reading other people's work and you may find a little inspiration.
S. Stop in the middle of a sentence. It'll make it easy to start writing when you return.
T. Try breaking up your writing into manageable chunks. Aim for a paragraph first, then a page. Work up to something longer.
U. Understanding the problem will help you beat it. Knowing that you've got writer's block is the first step.
V. Vary the place where you write. Even working from the kitchen table instead of your usual desk can help.
W. What did you do when your writing went well? Think about the way you tackled things then and try to do the same again.
X. X-ray your writing. If you can't write anything new, spend time scrutinizing what you've already done.
Y. You should try and get plenty of sleep. Tiredness can contribute to writer's block.
Z. Zoom through your writing. Put your pen to the paper and don't stop. Let everything that comes into your head spill out.
How do you do it? We’d love to hear how you beat the block.