Writer’s block can kill the rhythm of a good project. It’s the headache of many writers’ existence, but it doesn’t have to bite you. I never have writer’s block. And it’s not because I’m so great. It’s because of one simple strategy to combat writer’s block: Keep it moving.
One key to prevent writer’s block is to make sure you have more than one writing project going on at a time. Of course since I actually run a writing business, that’s never a problem for me. I always have several client projects going and maybe something of my own.
So if you get stuck on one project, maybe your brain just needs a break. Switch gears and pick up another one for a while. Then when you are refreshed or have a new thought for the stalled project, switch back to it. Keeping it moving keeps it fresh.
Even if you are working on one project, you can still use this tactic. If you are stalled writing one scene, for instance, then just switch to another scene or character. The two scenes don’t have to go together or one right after the other. But switching from a scene where you are stuck can allow you to keep your project moving, give you a new idea for what needs to happen next, and create new excitement.
The worst thing you can do when you have writer’s block is to anguish over the project or passage in question. That wretched moment of angst will only produce more drama, frustration and the fear that, “Aw shucks, I’ll never write again!”
So don’t go there. Just start fresh somewhere else, then come back.
Here are idea generators for four types of writing projects:
1. Blog: Have you committed to a blog and find yourself out of fresh ideas? Well, then, it’s time to go in search of inspiration. Think about the most commonly asked questions related to your blog’s topic. One of those is sure to produce an idea for a post. Or what about a recent conversation you had with someone in your industry? Does that conversation’s topic lend itself to a blog post? (Not saying you need to go and spill the secrets of the person you were talking with, but the topic may be something others would find interesting).
2. Novel: Have you gotten halfway through your new novel only to find yourself not sure where your characters go next? Are you paralyzed and can’t type another sentence? Then it’s time to stretch out on the couch — or floor or bed — and close your eyes for ten minutes. No, don’t go to sleep! Instead, try visualizing what you are writing as a movie. What would happen next? What would get your pulse racing? Or envision telling the story to a friend. What would be the natural question to ask at this point in the story? Answer that question, ask it, or allude to it.
3. Sales letter: Are you stuck in the middle of your sales letter? Well, go back to the top. Does the very beginning — the first sentence — grab you and bring you in? If it doesn’t, play around with it. That will lead you to the second, third and fourth sentences. Or lay that letter to the side and start a new one coming from a whole different angle. Then go back to the first one. At the end of the process, you could have two great sales letters vying for attention.
4. Article: Are you stalled in the middle of an article writing assignment? Well, step back for a sec and ask one key question: What is the news of this thing? Even if it’s not a hard news story, there has still got to be a point. If you’ve written a piece and you can’t clearly see the point, then that may be why you are stalled with writer’s block. Maybe you’re trying to piece together an uninteresting, lifeless collection of facts that don’t really resonate. Once you go back and find the news — or point — of the piece, make sure that every sentence after that supports it. If you are writing a long article and you’ve exhausted your information and are stuck, then maybe the project doesn’t need to be any longer. Or if it has to be longer, then can you use a subhead to introduce a slightly different take on the original point? The subhead can allow you to write so you meet your word count requirement but do it in a way that brings value because you provide more in-depth information.
Whenever I get to my mental limit or need to take a break from one project, I look for another project. The variety of the work and the different demands of the projects mean writer’s block doesn’t take up residence on my shoulders, rendering my fingers unable to move. You can use these strategies to combat writer’s block, keep your writing interesting, and move the story along. You can use this keep it moving strategy, whether you have a writing business or write as a hobby.
What projects do you find the most difficult to write?