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Tips for Getting Over Writer's Block

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Have you lost the ability to write creatively? Sure, you can technically write words on a page, but does everything you write sound dull, uninspired, and inauthentic?

Sounds like you have a nasty case of writer’s block, but fortunately there’s a cure.

Writer’s block is rooted in fear and perfectionism, and you’ve got to pluck it out by the roots if you want your garden of creativity to blossom. Otherwise, the seeds of writer’s block will take over your garden and corrupt everything.

While we’ll provide practical tips on how to overcome writer’s block in this post, let’s start by addressing what causes it. By understanding the mental factors that lead to writer’s block, you’ll be able to get rid of it once and for all. Let’s get started.

Why Does Writer’s Block Happen?

Get Over Writer’s Block

Four things contribute to writer’s block. Let’s take a look at what these factors are and how they can stunt your creative flow.

Perfection

The pursuit of perfection may be admirable for certain goals, but for writing, it’s actually harmful. No writer has ever written a perfect piece of prose. Some passages have come close, but perfection is always fleeting. Upon a second reading, most writers will find something to improve.

However, the idea that you can write a perfect story, paragraph, or even sentence is an insidious lie that will demotivate you before you even begin. (Besides, the closest you’ll get to perfection is during the editing process— not while writing.) Don’t expect perfection when you sit down to write and your writing session will go a lot easier.

Comparison

Comparison is soul-crushing and fruitless. What’s the point of comparing yourself to someone else who will never be you?

While your writing may never be perfect, it can be 100% authentically your own. Uniqueness is the best alternative to perfection. Cultivate a voice and storytelling style that cannot be compared to others.

Uniqueness is the best alternative to perfection. Cultivate a voice and storytelling style that cannot be compared to others.

It doesn’t matter what others do if you’re so unique that you can only be measured by your previous writing.

Lack of Inspiration

Stop waiting for a light bulb to appear above your head. That’s what novice writers do. You do not have to wait for inspiration before you start writing. If you have an idea, that’s inspiration enough.

Distraction

Our modern world is filled with diversions. Even when sitting in front of your computer, you’re forced to fend off an onslaught of distractions, from phone calls to text messages to social media posts. It’s hard to get in the right mind space to write when you’re constantly hearing pings, rings, and chirps.

Creative writing happens when you allow your mind to wander. But constant interruptions will halt your imagination.

To overcome the above contributors to writer’ block, remember the following:

  • Don’t expect perfection. Your writing will never be perfect, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t be good.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others. They’re not perfect either.
  • Don’t wait for inspiration. She’s not perfect either.
  • Don’t allow anything to distract you. Make writing a priority by turning off everything else.

Now, let’s get practical. Here’s what you can do right now to get over writer’s block once and for all.

Just Start Writing

Even though you don’t feel inspired…

Even though you don’t love what you’re writing…

Even though you feel hopelessly unoriginal…

You can still write.

So, why aren’t you writing?

Even if you don’t feel creative enough to write something completely new, you still have the ability to write. So, write about something that you know, specifically your past. Write about an incident in your childhood or explore a story from your parent’s past.

Here’s your permission to write badly. The process of writing will help you formulate your thoughts and get into the creative zone.

Write About Something Else

Maybe you don’t want to write about your past because it’s painful or you just don’t want to do it. I get it. But, you can still write. Instead of relying on your own creativity, use a writing prompt that someone else thought up.

Some writers use prompts as daily exercise. Here are a few places to check out when you need to find a writing prompt:

Learn More About Your Main Characters

One of the best ways to dig yourself out of the pit is to write about your characters.

But, you say, that’s what I’m trying to do and I’m blocked.

Ah, but here’s what’s different: You’re not writing your characters’ main stories. You’re writing their backstories. In other words, you’re getting to know more about your characters, including their motivations. Sometimes, you’re stuck because you don’t know enough about your characters. Learn who they are and get unstuck.

Here are 5 tips to create an awesome backstory for your character.

Get Descriptive

If you’d like to move beyond backstories but still want to work on your story, consider world-building.

World-building is the process of designing your entire world, from setting and time period to daily life and government. Immersing yourself in the protagonist's world can help you see what should come next.

We’ve created a couple of resources on world-building that you can check out here:

(The above world-building tips can be applied to any work of fiction.)

Read Well-Written Books

Get Over Writer’s Block

All of us have a list of books we’d like to read. Choose one of them at random. Soaking up good writing can inspire you to get behind the keyboard again. Need some reading inspiration? Check out these lists:

Turn Writing Into a Routine

Don’t wait for the stars to align before you write. Writing is not a mystical experience. Inspiration is not going to take over your body and write through you.

The only way that you’re going to overcome writer’s block is by writing through it.

Put writing on your daily schedule. Instead of writing whenever you get a chance, make your writing session a permanent part of your day, somewhere between brushing your teeth and going to bed. Force yourself to sit down (free from distractions) for at least one hour to write. You’ll come up with something eventually, just to avoid being bored.

Go Visual

If you can’t write, don’t write. Instead, go visual. Head to Pinterest or your favorite stock image library (like Pexels or Unsplash) and search for images that remind you of your story and its characters. Consider pinning or saving especially striking images for later. Sometimes, getting lost in those beautiful images will spark your creativity, and give you a better reference than just your imagination.

Final Thoughts

Writer’s block happens to all of us, and it’s never fun. The good news is that writer’s block isn’t a life sentence. In fact, if you address the root causes of writer’s block, you will be able to eliminate it completely. If you are presently struggling with writer’s block, use the above tips to pull yourself out of it.

Before you go, check out these related posts:

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