Writer's Block Busters

So now you are sitting at your desk, or the kitchen table, or in the bookstore coffee shop, you have a pad of paper and a couple of pens, and you know what story you want to write. You pick up that pen, and place it on the line at the top of the paper, but that’s as far as you get. Your fingers freeze. They simply won’t move. Just to make sure, you scribble a tiny spot at the bottom of the page, and verify that there is ink in the pen. You scratch your head, yawn, stretch, and try again. Still nothing. You get up and fetch a fresh cup of coffee. That’s it. Coffee, strong and black. That’s what fuels writers, right? That or whisky, ala Hemingway. Wrong. Neither coffee nor whiskey help at all. Coffee makes you feel more nervous about being stuck, whiskey makes you quit caring. The words are still stuck.

Suddenly doubt sets in. What was it that made you think you could write? Just why is it that writing these stories down seemed so all-fired important? I’m not a writer, you tell yourself. This is nuts! Then it dawns on you. This is the fabled writer’s block. You have the dread disease before you’ve even begun writing.

Writer’s block can occur at any point in a project from the very beginning to the last phases of editing. Fortunately the affliction is not fatal. Some suggestions for overcoming writers block follow. Think of the items on the list as if they are written on folded scraps of paper inside a jar, rather than a ladder to be climbed. There is no order to the list, so use whichever one seems right for your situation.
  • Write a letter

  • Use scrap paper

  • Doodle

  • Move around

  • Turn on music

  • Take a shower

  • Write about your writer’s block

  • Have a chat with your inner critic

  • Go back to your resource material

  • Write about what you would write if your words weren’t stuck

  • Wrote about why it’s hard for you to write this story
What are your favorite writer’s block busters? All comments are welcome!

Write on,

Sharon Lippincott, aka Ritergal


Stephanie West Allen said...

When I am blocked, I write with the intention of making it the worst writing ever. Doing so frees me up and also often makes me laugh. Sometimes the exercise creates the best writing ever.

Wonderful job with the blog, Sharon.

Ritergal said...

Thanks for the compliment and the idea Stephanie. There actually is an annual "Worst Writing" contest. Our newspaper used to publish the winners. They were so awful they were funny.