When You Don’t Feel Like Writing: Five Tips For Curing Writer’s Block

There are days.

You know you have to write.

You sort of want to write.

But it is SO hard to get your butt in that chair and get down to writing and enjoying it.

Maybe you are stuck at a difficult spot in your manuscript. Maybe you are stuck on a plot point. Maybe you have to figure out why others don’t like the characters you love and how to make those characters show their true selves to the reader so they can love them as much as you do.

Maybe you’re burned out. Maybe you have a ton of stuff going on in your real life. Maybe you are applying too much pressure on yourself. Maybe it’s fear. Maybe it’s a bad review/feedback. Maybe it is a deadline. Maybe you’re so tired you can’t think straight and you’re afraid you’ll muck things up if you dive into the manuscript.

I’ve used all of the above excuses to keep me from writing. And that is lame. Is it writer’s block? Or is it just a motivational deficiency?

Here are five ways to dive into your writing when it’s the last thing you want to do.

how to defeat writer's block. Cat cartoon.

Five Ways to Beat Writer’s Block

1.Identify the true issue. If you don’t want to write because you fear the feedback, then find a way to put the idea of feedback out of your mind so you can get down to writing. In other words, figure out what is blocking you and then tackle that issue specifically.

2. Break into into small pieces. This week I got blocked on a plot point and found breaking it up into what I had and what I needed it to be allowed me to slip the two together and make sense of it all so I could move forward one scene at a time. Yes, it took me a few days to sort it all out, but now I have a plan and my small pieces to tackle and I am flying!

3. Bribe yourself. If things are really bad–as in you don’t even want to read over the scene you need to tackle–bribe yourself with something you want whether it is a bike ride, or a glass of wine. Make yourself do that one small task and then reward yourself immediately. Repeat as necessary.

4. Write it out. Sometimes I have to write out the issue I have by hand. There is something about making lists, and writing out what I have or where I need to go or even silly character interviews that helps get the juices going again and move around whatever is stumping me. You may also find changing your setting or chatting with others about things helps jump you out of the rut you’ve fallen into.

5. Stop in a juicy spot. If you have trouble picking up where you left off the day before, trying stopping while the getting is good. Even though you may be like, “Noooooo I can’t possibly!” give it a whirl. If you leave a line or two of notes about what is to happen next it makes it easy to jump in and get a good amount of words under your belt preventing that blocked feeling when you first sit down. It gives you a nice shot in the arm and makes you eager to get back to writing.

In the end, the more you write the easier it should get. And if you need a day or two off–take it, but make sure you schedule yourself right back into writing again so you don’t fall out of the habit because that makes it so much more difficult to get back into it. Even writing a half a short scene a day can really boost your output over the longhaul and keep you in the game.

How about you? What helps you get back on the writing horse when you get out of the habit or get blocked? Share your tips in the comment section.

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3 comments on “When You Don’t Feel Like Writing: Five Tips For Curing Writer’s Block
  1. Great blog jean. Talking with someone or more specifically for just to put it in an email to another writer helps a lot. They may offer ideas but most of the time their ideas just help me come up with my own.

    • jeanoram says:

      So true Kathy. Sometimes just the process of trying to explain my writing problem to another writer via written form can show the problem to me and make a solution pop. Knowing other writers is great!

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