Hacking your Way Out from Under Writer’s Block

It’s inevitable. Writer’s block will happen at some point and it sucks. It’s frustrating, and the more stressed you get about it, the less able you are to get un-blocked. It’s kind of like … insomnia. The more you freak out about not sleeping, the longer it takes to get to sleep, right? You might as well give up because it just isn’t going to happen. But, just when you stop worrying about not sleeping, that’s when you fall asleep. The same thing is true with writer’s block.

Yet, we tend to panic. And stress. And obsess. And all of this just makes the problem worse.

So the key, then, is to have a plan of attack:

•    Talk to a monkey — Or some other animal, alive or stuffed, so you can work out all that crap you’ve got stuck inside your head.
•    Change your voice — Maybe the problem is the voice you’re writing in, so change it. The truly great thing about being a writer, like being an actor, is that you can be anyone on the page, so change who you are. Switch your personality. Try seeing the topic from someone else’s perspective.
•    Quit beating yourself up — OMG, you can’t create when you feel whipped. Stop visualizing catastrophes. Eliminate the pressure. Call in support.
•    Write crap — Just accept that your first draft will be crap and get over it, then move on to write something totally brilliant. You’re a professional; you get paid to write. Eventually you will get past this.
•   Write the middle first —This might be the best advice I ever received: Stop whining over a perfect lead, and write the next part, or the part after that. Write your favorite part. Write the cover letter or the email you’ll send when it’s done. Just write something. It doesn’t have to be in chronological order.
•    Write five words — Literally. Put five random words on a piece of paper. Then five more words. Try writing a sentence out of them. Could be about anything. A block ends when you start writing words on a page.


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