Overcoming Writer’s Block
by B.K. Walker
Here are some tried and true methods of overcoming writer’s block: (view more tips at BookIt! BK)
1. Be prepared. The only thing to fear is fear itself. (I know, that’s a clich?but as soon as you start writing, feel free to improve on it.) If you spend some time mulling over your project before you actually sit down to write, you may be able to circumvent the worst of the crippling panic.
2. Forget perfectionism. No one ever writes a masterpiece in the first draft. Don’t put any expectations on your writing at all! In fact, tell yourself you’re going to write absolute garbage, and then give yourself permission to happily stink up your writing room.
3. Compose instead of editing. Never, never write your first draft with your monkey-mind sitting on your shoulder making snide editorial comments. Composing is a magical process. It surpasses the conscious mind by galaxies. It’s even incomprehensible to the conscious, editorial, monkey-mind. So prepare an ambush. Sit down at your computer or your desk. Take a deep breath and blow out all your thoughts. Let your finger hover over your keyboard or pick up your pen. And then pull a fake: appear to be about to begin to write, but instead, using your thumb and index finger of your dominant hand, flick that little annoying ugly monkey back into the barrel of laughs it came from. Then jump in ? quickly! Write, scribble, scream, howl, let everything loose, as long as you do it with a pen or your computer keyboard.
4. Forget the first sentence. You can sweat over that all-important one-liner when you’ve finished your piece. Skip it! Go for the middle or even the end.
Start wherever you can. Chances are, when you read it over, the first line will be blinking its little neon lights right at you from the depths of your composition.
5. Concentration. This is a hard one. Life throws us so many curve balls. How about thinking about your writing time as a little vacation from all those annoying worries. Banish them! Create a space, perhaps even a physical one, where nothing exists except the single present moment. If one of those irritating worries gets by you, stomp on it like you would an ugly bug!
6. Stop procrastinating. Write an outline. Keep your research notes within sight. Use someone else’s writing to get going. Babble incoherently on paper or on the computer if you have to.
Just do it! (I know, I stole that line from somewhere?). Tack up anything that could possibly help you to get going: notes, outlines, pictures of your grandmother. Put the cookie you will be allowed to eat when you finish your first draft within sight ? but out of reach. Then pick up the same type of writing that you need to write, and read it. Then read it again. Soon, trust me, the fear will slowly fade away.
As soon as it does, grab your keyboard and get writing!
How have you overcome Writer’s Block?