Wednesday, June 1, 2011

5 Ways to Overcome Writer's Block

Have you ever reached the point where you stare blankly at the computer screen anxiously awaiting the next great sentence to magically pour from your fingertips? All writers experience writer's block, even the greats. But you don't have to remain stuck there. Here are a few tips for getting un-stuck.

Be True to You
Writing begins with feeling. So, when you get stuck, immediately get in touch with how you’re feeling. Maybe you’re avoiding a painful or embarrassing incident that you want to include in the story, but you don’t want to tell it. In this case, move forward with writing about the incident exactly as you recall it - warts and all. Often, this is a cleansing exercise and presents an opportunity for you to get in touch with your feelings. Put it aside for a day or so. When you return to your writing project, read through your description. Is it still embarrassing? Painful? If so, perhaps you could change the names of the people involved, eliminate a few details, or remove it altogether.

Reach Out to the Experts
Perhaps you’re writing about something you’ve never actually done. Research or interview an expert and quote them. Always, without exception, ask permission and give credit when using someone else’s intellectual property or when quoting someone.

Find Your Voice
Oftentimes, writers get stuck when they try to imitate someone else’s style. Rather than  writing with the flowery, emotional flair of an ancient storyteller, the forceful passion of a contemporary motivational speaker, or the rhythmic cadence of a much revered poet ... work on developing your own true voice. Authenticity shows through in your writing. Believe it or not, your readers can tell when you’re not being yourself. Bring your own passion to the pages. Try writing whatever comes to your mind; write, don’t think.

Be In Your Comfort Zone
Being comfortable when you write is an important aspect of the writing process, and it can do wonders for getting un-stuck. Consider these aspects of comfort:
  • Environmental – Make sure you are relaxed, have all of the materials you need for writing and eliminate distractions and interruptions in your writing place.
  • Personal: When you’re hungry or tired, you will inevitably encounter writer’s block. As much as possible, satisfy your basic physical and personal needs before sitting down to write.
  • Emotional: Worry, fear, guilt, shame, anger and other emotions can become a roadblock to your writing. Try deep breathing for several minutes before starting to write. Imagine yourself in a beautiful scene and focus on only that. If worrisome thoughts creep into the scene, just practice the breathing exercise and reposition yourself in the scene. Remember that you are in your writing place to create something wonderful.
Discover Writing Prompts
Perhaps you’re searching for the right words to construct that amazing sentence. To get your creative juices flowing:
  • Grab an old photo album and select a picture that you have a particular emotional connection to. Recall what it was like at that moment. Then write about it.
  • Reread love letters, thank you notes, birthday cards and recall the pleasant feelings you had when you received them. Write what you feel.
  • Choose a magazine article that addresses one of your current interests. Write a summary of the article and describe how it speaks to your personal concerns or interests.
  • Recall a dream you’ve had. Describe what happened, what you did, how you felt and how it ended.
  • Consider the seasons. Describe the changes in the landscape,
 There'sno one magic solution for getting un-stuck. Writer’s block is a real thing, but it doesn’t have to imprison you. Keep your writing flowing and just remember that writing is a process. You are a writer and you are here to write your life.

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