Tips for Beating Writer’s Block, Part Four

We hope this post finds you proceeding smoothly along the self-publishing road!

If, however, you’ve been hitting a few bumps (or roadblocks!) lately, you’ve come to the right place. Today we present our fourth batch of suggestions for staying the course when the obstacles seem insurmountable, and when writer’s block has you thinking of a career change.

Start in the middle of your project.

In our first installment, we suggested skipping over a problem section of your story and returning to it later. Well, this suggestion can be put to use in other ways, too. Do you know where your characters should end up in Act Two but just don’t know how to get them there?

To borrow a Star Wars reference, do you know what to do once everyone boards the Millennium Falcon, but just don’t know how to get them to Mos Eisley?

Then put Act One aside for now! Start in the middle and proceed from there. You can always backtrack later, and you might even find that the middle was a better place to begin your story! Or, events that happen later in the story may suggest seeds that you should have planted earlier or payoffs for subplots that you will need to introduce in the beginning.

Take a break.

In most cases, we believe in having a set writing schedule and sticking to it. On the other hand, it’s better to change your writing time for the day than to simply not write at all. Writer’s block can be a stressful thing, and exercise is one of the best remedies for stress.

So get out from behind the computer and head for the gym, walking trail, tennis court, or pool. A little physical activity may be all you need to get some distance from your writing project and see it with a fresh set of eyes when you return. And hey, it never hurts to get more exercise!

[Side note: you should try to incorporate exercise into your schedule anyway. Writing, while mentally stimulating, isn’t the most physical activity, and a daily dose of exercise will help keep your body and mind performing at their best.]

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books are invited to do so through the Blog Guidelines Page. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation, and length.


Tips for Beating Writer’s Block, Part Three

So, you’re still staring at the monitor, fingers frozen over the keyboard? Never fear, we’ve got some new ideas and suggestions for breaking down the wall known as “writer’s block.”

Writer’s block can be like the common cold—the remedy that works for one person doesn’t always work for everyone, so you should experiment and find what’s best for you. Discard the rest, or keep it in the back of your mind to try another time.

Let’s get started with two new tips for today!

Change Projects

Director Wong Kar-Wai, the story goes, was having creative trouble with his epic adventure Ashes of Time (call it “director’s block”). His solution? He took a two month break from the film and shot another film, the classic Chungking Express, a movie completely different in genre and tone. He supposedly returned to Ashes of Time mentally refreshed and ready to proceed with the story.

The lesson for writers? Don’t be afraid to have more than one project “on the stove” at any given time, even if one’s on the back burner. When you’re feeling blocked, take a break and give your mind a change of scenery. You may find that after spending a few days with your other project, you’re ready to jump back into your primary story, refreshed and recharged.

Short stories, poetry, or flash fiction can be a great option, as they allow you to step away from your primary story and complete a totally separate work before returning to your “blocked” story.

Always Carry a Notebook

This is always a great tip for writers, regardless of the circumstances; after all, an idea that seems brilliant at the time can vanish like the morning mist when the distractions of daily life crowd it out of your mind. But how does it apply specifically to writer’s block? In reference to our last tip, if you want a “back burner” project, you’re going to need ideas for that project.

So the next time writer’s block visits you, take a moment to whip out the notebook, flip through the pages, and get started on that other great idea you had in the doctor’s office last month, even if “get started” simply means making an outline, character sketch, or a film treatment. Even if your story is temporarily blocked, it doesn’t mean you have to be also!

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books are invited to do so through the Blog Guidelines Page. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation, and length.


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