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!

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