Writing Tips: How to Avoid (and Remedy) Writer’s Block

I, like all other writers, get writer’s block; and I, like all other writers, absolutely HATE writers block! That feeling of wanting to continue writing, but not knowing what on earth to write about, is the worst. Now, I can’t help you come up with something to write about next (that’s a battle you must fight on your own) but I can help you clear your mind and keep writing with newly restored vigor. Here’s some ideas to help you pull through writer’s block:

1. Listen to music. I usually listen to music while I write, either in a quiet space or with headphones. My favorite songs encourage me to keep writing, even if I have no idea what happens next. The music also drowns out distracting noises such as the TV, my dog barking, and my siblings playing or shouting. And it can help you come up with new ideas. If I listen to a sad song while writing a tragic scene, I’m going to feel the sadness and want to keep writing about it so that I don’t feel sad anymore. I find music highly beneficial when writing.

2. Create a flow chart. Okay, okay, I know flow charts became pretty old in third grade when you had to make them a lot, but they really do help. If I write all of my ideas on a separate note card and use arrows to show how they’re connected, it helps me to avoid the question, “What do I write about next?” You can do this on a sheet of paper, or you can do it on note cards and tape it up somewhere. I personally prefer the latter, because then I see it a lot and am constantly reminded, “You need to write. You need to write.”

3. Just stop writing. No, I don’t mean you need to put down your pen forever. Getting writer’s block doesn’t make you a bad writer. You just need to take a little break. Go outside. Read a book. Sometimes I find a little food doesn’t hurt, either. It’s hard to write on an empty stomach.;) Writing takes a lot of brainpower and focus to do, or at least to do well. Sometimes writer’s block is just your brain’s way of telling you that it needs a break.

4. Reread what you’ve written. Have you ever walked into a room to do something, only to instantly forget what you’re doing there in the first place? This happens to me all the time. It helps if I backtrack and think of what I was doing before I walked into the room. Then I can usually remember what I originally wanted to do. Well, writing is kind of like this. You can start a paragraph, or a chapter, or a sentence, only to find that you haven’t the slightest idea what you wanted it to be about in the first place. All you need to do is backtrack. Go back a couple of sentences, paragraphs, or chapters and reread everything you’ve written. Then, when you get back to that naughty little sentence-to-be, you have a clear idea of what it needs to be about.

5. Read. Authors write books for a reason. Pleasure, fame, fortune, and a love for writing are among the main reasons. But books can serve another purpose, too: they can give you new ideas. I know that sometimes it’s impossible to keep thinking for just five minutes when you’re about to lose yourself in a good story, but pay attention to the pieces of the story, too, and not just a story as a whole. Pick up plot ideas, twists, vocabulary, and use them to come up with something new for your story. Notice how the author sets up a scene and starts new paragraphs or chapters. Then apply the methods to your story. Books are not only for pleasure, but are ways to give writing tips– from author to author.

6. Use a dictionary. You’re not checking your spelling, grammar, or vocabulary. You’re just using the dictionary to learn a bit. Dictionaries are full of words that the majority of the world hadn’t even heard of until Oxford and Miriam Webster decided they were real, so you just might pick something up.

Believe me, writer’s block is possibly the worst thing on the planet. But it’s not the end of the world. There are ways of moving the block so that you can see what’s behind it. It’s a mountain all of us have to climb, and it might as well be Everest. But if J.K. Rowling, Kathryn Lasky, and Rachel Renee Russel can do it, so can you!

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I hope you enjoyed my post! With Camp NaNoWriMo right around the corner, I’ll be posting lots of writing tips I’ve picked up. If you’re doing Camp NaNo, or if you have any tips or have something you want me to write about, tell me! 🙂

Smiles,

Lydia

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