Other than my family, there isn’t anything I love more than writing. You will often hear writers complain about the dreaded writer’s block, but I’ve honestly never experienced it. So, now you’re wondering why you should read my 10 ways to beat writer’s block when I don’t struggle with it, but that’s exactly why – I’ve been writing my whole life and I’m going to share my tried, tested and true methods that will get – and keep – you writing.
10 ways to beat writers’ block
Give yourself permission to suck. The number one thing I do to avoid writer’s block is simple: I write. It doesn’t matter if it’s terrible, if I don’t feel like it, or if I’m in a less-than-ideal location (I wrote my first book on a commuter train). Sometimes, while I’m forcing myself to write a chapter, I’m thinking, “good grief, this is awful,” but I keep going. It’s so much easier to edit than stare at a blank page, so my best advice is to schedule time to write and just do it – no excuses.
Get fancy. I adore Liz Gilbert’s book Big Magic and I’ve read it countless times. When you’re in the writing zone, your hair is likely in a (potentially greasy) top knot, you’re wearing yoga clothes with no intention of doing yoga, and you look like…a mess. Liz suggests taking a shower, getting dressed and putting yourself in a different head space, joking that if she were Inspiration, she wouldn’t want to hang out with herself in her disgusting state either.
Go do something – anything – else. When I’m lazy and unmotivated, which is the root of “writer’s block” for me, I take a break and do something to distract and inspire myself. Usually, that’s as simple as a change of scenery and spending time making memories with James and Buster, working out, cooking, meditating, or chatting with a friend.
Do some writing prompts. There is no one size fits all approach to creativity and getting the writing juices flowing is no exception. Personally, I don’t like writing prompts or writing exercises, but I have author friends who swear by them. If you’re feeling stuck, give it a try and report back if you find it helpful!
Start a new project. If I’m feeling uninspired with one of my books, I’ll focus on another work in progress (or start a brand new one) that appeals to my fickle mind. As long as I’m writing something, it counts, right? When writing the synopsis for Twist of Fate nearly killed me, I worked on The List and started a rock star romance instead. I did a poll on Instagram and got amazing suggestions for my hero’s name. I’m going with Bryce (my original idea of Justin was a hard no)!
Edit and get back in the groove. Yes, this breaks a so-called cardinal rule where writing purists will tell you that you can’t edit while you’re writing something. Except you can, which I know for a fact because I do. I don’t have the luxury of being a full time author, so sometimes there are long breaks between my writing sessions. One of the best ways to get back into the groove is to read everything from the top (pending the top isn’t too long – but at least a couple of proceeding chapters) and then carry on as though I never stopped.
Listen to music that inspires you. This will be different for everyone, but I love country and rock. I have a writing playlist that I constantly update and it never fails to inspire me. My favourite songs of the moment? Tequila and Woman, Amen.
Break out a pen and notebook. Remember those archaic writing tools? I know, they cramp my hand too. But hear me out. Sometimes putting pen to paper, especially in a journal designed for creativity, can make all the difference in the world.
Brainstorm with your tribe. Instagram has introduced me to an incredible group of authors, including the lovely Emily Murray, who is always up to listen to my crazy ideas and talk about characters like they’re real people (check out my aesthetic for Brooklyn and Trevor from Twist of Fate). Days go by when we don’t talk about anyone who actually, you know, exists and many (hopefully) great ideas have come from our chats!
Read a book. Sometimes the best way to write a book is to take a short break and read one. When I relax, my mind opens to creativity and reading is one of my greatest escapes. I prefer to read non-fiction and am a total fitness and wellness junkie. My current read is How Not to Die and I’m finding the insights fascinating (I also have the cookbook where I often seek inspiration in the kitchen). Check out this picture on Instagram to see what my zen boxer, Buster, is currently reading!
How do you beat writers’ block?
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