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How to Unblock Writer's Block

Updated: Jun 2, 2019

Sick and tired of staring at a blank page? Stuck in a creative rut? Here are nine things every writer can do to get rid of writer’s block and feel inspired again.

Study The Greats 

Sometimes, writer’s block can stem from inexperience and a lack of knowledge. You can remedy this problem by analysing and learning the work of great writers.

  1. Pick up your favourite book.

  2. Observe the writing. Take note of how the author builds tension, adds depth to characters etc.

  3. Choose a writing technique that you would like to learn. E.g. Frequent use of short sentences to set the pace of a fast-moving scene.

4. Incorporate them in your writing. Mastering this technique requires time and deliberate practice but it will give you the creative fuel to experiment with new forms of story-telling, embrace the creative process and fine-tune your writing style.

Do Your Research

You may be unsure of what to write simply because you are not informed enough about the topic that you are writing about. Research is crucial because it triggers new ideas, strengthens the plot and creates a more sophisticated and believable piece of writing. So, make sure that you make a consistent effort to learn all you can about your writing topic to ensure a smoother writing experience.

Write An Outline

Writing a simple plot and character outline provides comfort and direction for me. I find that writing my ideas down and arranging them in a way that makes sense to me gives me the mental space to work out the murkier ideas in my head and fine-tune the details of my story.

Write Blind

This particular technique was taught to me by my former writing lecturer and is designed to kickstart the writing process when you are stuck in a creative rut.

  1. Turn down the brightness of your computer screen until it is pitch black.

  2. Set a timer for 20 minutes.

  3. Type anything and everything that comes to mind

  4. After those 20 minutes, you will find that you have written something that you like or a point that you can expand on and include in your work.

Don't Force It Writer’s block can happen when you are trying to steer the story in the wrong direction or force the characters to do things that are not true to their personality, motives or beliefs. It could even happen before you begin writing the book and are in the process of sketching out your story. Ask yourself if something feels right. Most of the time, your gut feeling will tell you what you need to know. 

Move On 

You do not have to work in a strictly linear manner. When a part of your story is not working, move on to another section. Remove the restrictions of linear, chronological writing to give yourself the freedom to think of new ideas and build upon your existing story.

Leave It Alone

When you are struggling to put pen to paper, take a break and do something different. It could be as simple as eating a meal or reading a book. Your subconscious will continue to develop ideas and find solutions as you occupy yourself with other activities.

Improve Your Mood 

Creating effective writing is a difficult skill to master and can trigger feelings of frustration, anger and hopelessness. Make a conscious effort to improve your mood during the writing process so that it becomes a more enjoyable experience. It could be playing your favourite music in the background or writing in a place that brings you joy. This will give you an incentive to continue writing, even during difficult times.

Sleep On It

I personally find that fatigue is the biggest contributor to my writer’s block. Getting a good night’s rest clears the fogginess in my brain, increases my determination to complete my work and give me a burst of energy to write.

- Afiqah Rozali

Afiqah Rozali is a media and communication post-graduate student at Swinburne University of Technology. She enjoys reading, playing with her cats and eating spicy food in her free time. You can follow her on Twitter at @afiqahrozalii

#toptips #writersblock

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