Transcript for June 22nd, 2011 Live Chat at the WWCC

5 Tips to Overcome Writer’s Block
Irene S. Roth

Many writers suffer from writer’s block at one time or another in the writing lives.
Writer’s block occurs when a writer’s creativity is frozen. It seems that no
matter what the writer does, (s)he seems stuck and unable to write.

There are many reasons why writing block occurs, and sometimes no matter
what writers do, they can become stuck in a rut. Writer’s block can occur
if you’re an all-or-nothing writer, if you’re constantly disturbed by
your family and other activities, or if you suffer from burn out.
In this live chat, I will offer 5 tips to overcome writer’s block
that every writer can rely on when the time comes that (s)he
is stuck in a rut.

Some writers are overwhelmed by the devastating effects of writer’s block.
The good news is that there are many things that writers can do to
overcome it. The trick is to try and do something about writer’s
block before it gets to be a real problem.

The five tips are as follows:

1. Give yourself permission to write

Many writers feel guilty when they sit down to write. They figure that
there is so much to do and so many places to go. This is especially
the case if the writer is part of a family of non-writers—which covers
most of us. We want to write. But our family always wants to be going to
and doing something other than write.

The best way to handle this situation is to give yourself permission to
write, every day, even if you’re experiencing writer’s block. You may
do this by telling your family that you won’t be joining them for
some of their activities and outings. And then while your family
is away, you could do your writing for the day. You must be serious
about your writing in order for family to take your writing seriously.

2. Don’t be an all-or-nothing writer

Many writers write for four hours one day and then don’t write at all
the next few days. This kind of haphazardness and inconsistency with
your writing time can paralyze your productivity levels over time and
allow writer’s block to set in. Further, the lack of consistency in
your writing routine can really put a damper on any kind of consistent
productivity as well.

So, the best way to eliminate writer’s block is to try and write every day.
Even if you only write for a half an hour to an hour, it is important that
you simply sit down and write. Don’t let anything stop you. There is nothing
that can stop writer’s block more readily and successfully than the consistency
of writing every day. You’ll be in the habit of writing and you will enjoy
the process of writing.

3. Set consistent times to write, even if you don’t feel like it

Many writers aren’t able to write consistently. Instead, they find
sporadic times to write, on sporadic projects. This kind of
inconsistency can cause a lot of disorganization and psychological
dislocation for writers. In addition, I think it is important for
writers to get into the habit of writing. And nothing can eliminate
writer’s block faster than writing consistently and taking your
writing seriously.

4. Continue to write regardless

You may experience writer’s block on one project. But you should
remember that you’re still a writer. So, if you’re stuck on one
project, you may want to switch projects and do some writing on
a new project or work on a redraft of another manuscript that
you left idle for a while. Sometimes, just by changing focus,
really make a difference in your writing productivity and output.
It can also be a morale booster.

5. Take a time out and come back fresh

Sometimes, the best thing that writers can do if they have serious
writer’s block is to take a break because you may be experiencing
burn out. If you try to work on other projects, other than the one
that is causing writer’s block, and still nothing seems to be going
right for you, maybe it’s time to take a short break away from writing.
You can do this by taking a few hours off and doing something completely
different. This will refresh your spirits, and you may come back totally
renewed.

In more serious cases, it may be necessary to take a mini-vacation from writing.
This doesn’t mean that you should quit. All you want to do is to take a break.
The best thing to do in this situation is to go to the cottage or somewhere
where you can totally relax. Don’t fill your vacation days with activity though.
Instead, do some real relaxation. To help yourself to recover against burn out,
you need complete rest for a while. When you come back to your writing after your
repose, you’ll definitely feel refreshed and be able start writing again.

By following these tips you will finally not be an all-or-nothing writer.
You will be able to take control of a burp in your overall productivity
and focus. Sometimes, a rest away from writing can give you the much
needed perspective to face your writing with much more equanimity and peace.

If you have any questions about anything in this Live Chat, please leave
a comment or question here. I will be sure to answer it right away.

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