Overcoming writer’s block

Many of us have experienced it: the urge to write, but nothing – no words, no ideas – bubble up like a shaken soda ready to burst forth. Writer’s block can be compared to a slump, or a rut, or the doldrums. It can be debilitating for a writer. When strickened with writer’s block, many of us turn to other outlets to release our pent-up creative energy. Much cleaning, exercising, and reading is accomplished in an effort to avoid facing the block monster. This procrastination often just makes the block monster more threatening.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Writer’s block will happen. It’s just a fact of life. Rather than turning and running from writer’s block, meet it head on. As the Nike slogan goes: Just do it. One way to combat the lack of fizz in your writing juices is to just sit down at the computer. This first step goes along way to overcoming writer’s block. It’s much easier to write with the proper mind set than when you’re distracted by outside “noise”. Obtaining the proper writer’s mindset is often easier to accomplished at your computer or with pencil and paper. If you intend to write, the odds are better that you will write. Raking the leaves holds little promise for penning your prose.

Brainstorming is a useful tool. Just jot down all the ideas that come to your mind. Some find it helpful to set the timer for five minutes. The trick is to keep writing – don’t stop – until your time is up. Even if you have to rewrite the last word multiple times while waiting for your next thought. This tactic often forces or cajoles your memory and your imagination to spring forth with forgotten memories and new ideas.

Some find it helpful to categories all your words after brainstorming. This is called focused writing. The act of sorting terms into categories is creatively stimulating and may be motivational. You may be inspired to write your next post.

Hey, I just did.

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About robertstevenson

Dr. Robert Stevenson is a Professor of Journalism and Director of Student Publications for the Department of Mass Communications and Theater at Lander University in Greenwood, SC. He received the Distinguished Faculty of the Year award for 2007-'08, and the Lander University Young Faculty Scholar Award in 2005-06. Stevenson also serves as chair of the Lander University American Democracy Project. First and Formost I am a dad of two wonderful boys.
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4 Responses to Overcoming writer’s block

  1. Jon says:

    Excellent advise. As I was reading your post a quote I read somewhere came into my mind. I can’t remember who said it, but here it is anyway. ‘The only way to write is to apply the seat of the pants to the chair.

  2. heffalump4 says:

    As a professional copywriter, I can’t afford the luxury of writer’s block. I need to keep tapping 9-5 or I don’t eat, so I really relate to this post.

    Recently I wrote my five tips on coping with writer’s block for the pro writer.

    http://www.jonathancrossfield.com/blog/2008/03/how-to-be-a-writer-when-your-m.html

  3. I had a tremendous case of writers block, burnout is what I call it. I am no longer earning a living writing, now it’s for fun. However, to break the curse of mental constipation, I arose an hour earlier than I normally did, each hour for a month. I immediately went to the kitchen table, sat down with a notebook and pen and started writing about the first thing that came into my mind for five minutes. My object was to write a short story to conclusion in five minutes. It was fascinating. I still have the notebook and have a hard time making out my scribbling since my thoughts were flowing so fast I could barely keep up. That mental colon irrigation was never needed again. After thirty days I had thirty stories. I enjoyed your article and will save it for my own reference. Thank you.

  4. Rose says:

    Good advice. I have had my share of writer’s block and blogging block.

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