Whether you’re writing your first novel or your tenth non-fiction book, eventually, you’ll run into writer’s block. It often happens when you’re on a deadline or have reached a pivotal junction in your manuscript. It can seem like the more you try to power through and get the words down, the worse your writer’s block becomes. Frustration can be the enemy and giving in to it may make things worse. At these times, walking away may be your best bet. Not forcing yourself and recharging your mental batteries can give you the energy and renewed enthusiasm to return to your writing. If stepping away and coming back to it isn’t working, try these tips for breaking through writer’s block.
Alter Your Surroundings
Try relocating your writing area to a different room if you have the space. If this isn’t practical, take some time to refresh your current writing space. Rearrange the furniture, declutter your desk, put out some fresh flowers, a framed picture, or a knickknack you love. New, attractive surroundings can be inspirational. Make your writing area a beautiful place to work.
Step Away – Temporarily
If you’ve been trying to force yourself to write for a while and it just isn’t working, you may need to step away entirely for a few days. The key is to decide how much time away you need, then stick with it. Don’t leave it open-ended, or you might fall into procrastinating. Tell yourself you’ll take an entire weekend to relax, travel, or whatever you want but that you will sit down and write on Monday. Then do it.
Read Your Way Through Writer’s Block
Take a break to appreciate the writing of others. It will cleanse your mind of frustration and remind you what you love about the written word. Being transported by the words of others often refires our own interest in writing. Try reading a different genre, a short story, or a book of poetry – reading something fresh and entirely separate from your own style can cleanse your mind and give you a new perspective.
Do a Character Study
Writer’s block when working on a novel is sometimes the result of not knowing where the story is going next. Even if you have an outline, the trip from point A to point B may bog you down. When you aren’t sure where you’re headed, take the focus off the story and hone in on one character. Stop working on the novel itself and create a one or two-page character study for one of the people in your book. If a secondary character intrigues you, flesh out their personality, delve into a descriptive paragraph, or craft a detailed short story about their past. You may even come up with a new twist for your story while doing this.
Shift Creative Gears to Overcome Writer’s Block
Take a break from writing and try another creative endeavor. You don’t have to be a gifted artist to try your hand at painting, sketching, baking, woodworking, singing, playing the piano, quilting, crafts, or pottery. Even doodling can be creative. Any creative pursuit that focuses on expression through something other than words can unlock new pathways in the brain and get your creativity flowing in new ways. You’ll return to your writing with a fresh outlook.
Writer’s block can be paralyzing if you don’t address it head-on. The five techniques above all require action on your part. While they temporarily take you away from your frustration, you’ll return to writing refreshed and recharged with a new perspective. The words will once again flow!
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