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Beating Writer’s Block

March 18th, 2016

writersblock2-blogFirst, thanks to Esther for last week’s blog and we wish her well with her competitions – we’ll obviously let you know about the winners when they’re announced.

Unfortunately, at some point in their career many writers suffer from the dreaded ‘writer’s block’.  Other writers claim that there’s no such thing!  They say that you don’t get ‘plumber’s block’ or ‘bank manager’s block’ and if you were a staff journalist on a newspaper and complained of writers’ block you’d soon find yourself out of a job.

Also, there are two rather different scenarios.  In the first, you can be part way through a novel or piece of non-fiction and suddenly you’re unable to take it any further.  In the second, you just can’t think what to write about – you’re stuck for ideas and need inspiration (and, perhaps a little boost to your confidence).  The following tips can apply to both.

Just give yourself a little time away from your writing.  Perhaps you’re trying too hard!  Go and do some gardening, have coffee with a friend or defrost  your freezer.  Once you’ve relaxed you’ll be surprised how soon you’re ready to start writing again.

Make sure that your surroundings are conducive to writing and that distractions or discomfort are not preventing you from concentrating.  You owe it to yourself to ensure that your writing space (however small) is comfortable and allows you to feel creative.

Nothing is worse than sitting in front of an empty computer screen or a blank piece of paper.  So start writing.  It doesn’t matter if it’s pedestrian and boring because once your writing has started to flow again you can go back and discard it.

And, if you know you have a tendency to writers’ block, always finish your day’s work in mid-paragraph, or at an interesting bit in your  story so that you have the impetus to jump in and carry on when you  come back to it.

If you’re still struggling, why not try writing to friends or keeping a journal/blog.  This exercises your ‘writing muscle’ and gets words flowing onto paper.

If you’re stuck for ideas rather than being stuck on a particular project then there’s nothing better than spending a day reading all those supplements that come with the weekend newspapers.  You’ll be surprised how many ideas they can trigger and you’ll feel relaxed and receptive after a lazy day spent browsing.  Or, if the Internet is more your thing, spend some time just following leads.  It’s not wasted time if it subsequently gets you writing again.

On the other hand, if you are part-way through a novel or article and grind to a halt, go back and make sure that your initial planning is good enough.  Insufficient planning in the early stages can sometimes lead to insurmountable problems later in the project.

You could also try having more than one project at a time on the go. So, if you get stuck with your latest short story you can always dash off a few readers’ letters or an article, instead of worrying about the block.

Another idea is to join a writers’ group.  Being able to exchange ideas and experiences with other writers often brings inspiration.  A more expensive option is to go on a writing course or writers’ holiday.  There are many advertised each year, from day events to residential ones.  Again, it’s the interaction with your tutor and other writers that can spark ideas.

Some of the above ideas will work for you; some won’t.  But you have to be absolutely honest with yourself – don’t blame it on writers’ block when you have simply chosen a topic for an article that subsequently proves to be a no-hoper.  Or, you have decided to write a novel but then find that you might have enough material for a short story but the plot doesn’t stretch to 70,000 words!  Admit that you’ve made a mistake, cut your losses and move on to something more productive.

And before I finish this week, I’d just like to mention that 21st March is UNESCO World Poetry Day and to celebrate we’re offering £25 off our Art of Writing Poetry Course – but you’ll have to hurry because the offer closes on Sunday!

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About The Author: Diana Nadin

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