10 Ways To Cure WriterÔÇÖs Block – Advice from Authors by Jessica Barrah

Published in the Completely Novel Blog - https://completelynovel.com/articles/10-ways-to-cure-writers-block

ThereÔÇÖs laziness, procrastinationÔǪ and then thereÔÇÖs writerÔÇÖs block. Some people see it as an invented affliction. But others such as Leo Tolstoy, Virginia Woolf and Ernest Hemingway have been affected by it for varying periods of time. Authors with personal experience are obviously the ideal people to give advice ÔÇô so hereÔÇÖs nine helpful quotations and one ÔÇÿkick up the backsideÔÇÖ.

  1. Break It Down

ÔÇ£The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.ÔÇØ

ÔÇö Mark Twain

  1. Just Write A Page

I encourage my students at times like these to get one page of anything written, three hundred words of memories or dreams or stream of consciousness on how much they hate writing  just for the hell of it, just to keep their fingers from becoming too arthritic, just because they have made a commitment to try to write three hundred words every day. Then, on bad days and weeks, let things go at that

ÔÇö Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

  1. Write about Something Else

ÔÇ£If youÔÇÖve got a writerÔÇÖs block, you can cure it this evening by stopping whatever youÔÇÖre writing and doing something else. You picked the wrong subject.ÔÇØ

ÔÇö Ray Bradbury

  1. Stop while the goingÔÇÖs good

The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day  you will never be stuck. Always stop while you are going good and dont think about it or worry about it until you start to write the next day. That way your subconscious will work on it all the time. But if you think about it consciously or worry about it you will kill it and your brain will be tired before you start.

ÔÇö Ernest Hemingway

  1. DonÔÇÖt Force It

What you have to do is try not to force words to come. That just gets you more stuck. What you have to do now is separate out the things and do them one at a time. YouÔÇÖre trying to think of what to say and what to say first at the same time and thatÔÇÖs too hard. So separate them out. Just make a list of all the things you want to say in any old order. Then later weÔÇÖll figure out the right order.ÔÇØ

ÔÇò Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values

  1. Put it away

ÔÇ£Suggestions? Put it aside for a few days, or longer, do other things, try not to think about it. Then sit down and read it (printouts are best I find, but thatÔÇÖs just me) as if youÔÇÖve never seen it before. Start at the beginning. Scribble on the manuscript as you go if you see anything you want to change. And often, when you get to the end youÔÇÖll be both enthusiastic about it and know what the next few words are. And you do it all one word at a time.ÔÇØ

ÔÇö Neil Gaiman

  1. Take A Hike

ÔÇ£If you get stuck, get away from your desk. Take a walk, take a bath, go to sleep, make a pie, draw, listen to ┬¡music, meditate, exercise; whatever you do, donÔÇÖt just stick there scowling at the problem. But donÔÇÖt make telephone calls or go to a party; if you do, other peopleÔÇÖs words will pour in where your lost words should be. Open a gap for them, create a space. Be patient.ÔÇØ

ÔÇö Hilary Mantel

  1. Mix It Up

ÔÇ£I wrote most of the books in scenes, and then went back later and tied the scenes together. It cut out a lot of writerÔÇÖs block to write whatever part I was most interested in at the timeÔÇØ

ÔÇö Stephanie Meyer

  1. Schedule Writing Time

ÔÇ£IÔÇÖve felt reluctant to write on some days, for whole weeks, or sometimes even longer. IÔÇÖd much rather go fishing, for example, or go sharpen pencils, or go swimming, or what not. But, later, coming back and reading what I have produced, I am unable to detect the difference between what came easily and when I had to sit down and say, ÔÇ£Well, now itÔÇÖs writing time and now IÔÇÖll write.ÔÇØ ThereÔÇÖs no difference on paper between the two.ÔÇØ

ÔÇò Frank Herbert

  1. Just do it.

Writers blocka lot of howling nonsense would be avoided if, in every sentence containing the word WRITER, that word was taken out and the word PLUMBER substituted; and the result examined for the sense it makes. Do plumbers get plumbers block? What would you think of a plumber who used that as an excuse not to do any work that day?

ÔÇö Philip Pullman.