5 ways to help with writer’s block

Writer’s block is a pesky little problem associated with writing, funnily enough. There are many reasons why it occurs. It may be that a writer runs out of inspiration or perhaps there are other circumstances external to their writing that contribute to the block. Whatever the reason may be, it stops you writing, which is rather inconvenient when writing is what you do.

It’s not often that I get writers block, but when I do find myself unsure what to write I usually find one of the following 5 ways helps me stay on track and continue with the story:

1. Just write

Try not to think too hard about what you are writing and simply allow the words to flow. When I do this, what I write is usually quite bad and should never be allowed to see the light of day—it rarely does. However, I accept this and continue through those painful parts with the awareness that they can be deleted or made better with editing, and the belief that something good will come from them. Remember, what you write may never end up in the finished script, but it will allow you to power through to the parts that do.

2. Jump ahead

Usually there is a scene in your book you can’t wait to write. Write the part of the story you are excited to write about. Often by the time you return to the part of the story you are struggling with, you will have a renewed sense of enthusiasm for your work.

3. Talk to someone

When I am stuck I will usually talk to someone else with the hope they will give me the answer to my block. They rarely have the answer I’m looking for, but the simple process of talking through my own ideas and bouncing them off someone usually triggers new ideas and sometimes provides me with the spark of inspiration I’m looking for. Life isn’t lived in a vacuum and writing shouldn’t be either.

4. Brainstorm ideas

Set a stopwatch for 10-15 minutes, sit with a blank piece of paper and write anything and everything that comes to mind. Try to get down as many ideas as you can and make sure you don’t criticise or edit the concepts, just keep writing them down. When you are done, look over your list to see if anything pulls at you and remember you can always combine your ideas and improve them. 

5. Distance yourself

If all else fails, take a step away from your project. I’m a huge advocate for allowing your subconscious time to mull over ideas. It’s one of the reasons I will give myself a break for several weeks after writing a first draft before I look at it again. This doesn’t mean you need to stop writing all together, rather use this time to work on other projects before you come back to your troublesome script. You never know, writing something else may in fact provide you the inspiration you were looking for.