Top 3 Tips for Beating Writer’s Block
Writing is like exercising. Once you get started, it can be enjoyable, and it always feels great when you’ve finished a good session. But finding the motivation (or inspiration) to get started in the first place – that can be a challenge.
According to some, writer’s block amounts to nothing more than sheer laziness, and maybe they’re right. I’ve had days when I wanted to do anything but write, yet managed to knock out some quality material once I locked myself away in the cave and committed to the job. However, it’s not always that simple. Some days I’ll sit down, eager to write, only to find that my brain isn’t being cooperative. I’ve literally struggled with a single sentence for over an hour, typing and retyping it in a thousand different ways, hating each new version more than the last.
That’s writer’s block. It’s a feeling that makes me want to toss my laptop through the window and scream “never again!” to the writing gods. But who am I kidding? Like an abused lover who loves the abuse, I keep coming back, and I’ve found three solutions that tend to help me forge on.
Solution 1: Skip it.
If a certain scene just isn’t coming to you, skip it for the time being. It’s helpful to hold yourself to a daily writing commitment, but nobody said you have to write your story in order. Jumping to a fresh scene can be a great way to get your creative juices flowing again and renew a sense of excitement in your work. Of course, your aim should be to make every scene exciting, and if the section you’re stuck on really isn’t…
Solution 2: Cut it.
Before you slave away, striving to make that particularly cumbersome scene work, ask yourself: How much would be lost if I cut this segment from the narrative? Maybe the reason your scene isn’t working is because it’s not meant to be. Are you forcing a passage into your story merely because you’re in love with a snippet of dialogue, despite the surrounding action not being terribly eventful?
Don’t do it. Trim that unnecessary fat and leave your overwrought scene on the drawing board. It might hurt losing those few lines that you like, but the sacrifice is worth it. I can’t overstate the relief I’ve felt when it stuck me that a passage I was struggling with wasn’t truly vital to the story at all. The slimmer, sleeker tale that resulted flowed better for readers, and good pacing is worth far more than a witty line or two.
Solution 3: Get some fresh air.
Despite the writing drill sergeants who preach that you just have to power through it, sometimes getting away from the keyboard may be exactly what you need. There have been days when I’ve beat myself up over trying to hammer out a passage just right, only to leave the computer and have the perfect words miraculously spring to mind mere minutes after I commit to doing something else. I’ll be taking a walk or a drive, and there it’ll be – the wonderful sentence I’d been striving for in vain all those fruitless hours in front of my monitor.
So get out. Get some fresh air. But here’s the thing: don’t overdo it.
A break should mean getting away from the computer for an hour, maybe the rest of the night. It shouldn’t mean taking a month-long vacation from writing to go “find your center.” Every writer has a rhythm, and you can lose that rhythm if you take off for too long. You may even forget the tone or direction of your story. If you need a week to clear your mind after every three pages, then writing probably isn’t for you.
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Genre - Christian Fiction
Rating – PG-13
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