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What do You do to Beat that Writing Block?
by Shery Ma Belle Arrieta-Russ
Once, twice or several times in a writer's life, *The Block* attacks. It renders the writer write-less. It paralyzes the hand, disabling the writer from moving the pen and writing something.
Sometimes it lasts for only a few minutes or hours. Other times, it lasts for a few days. What's worse for the writer is when The Block lasts for months and even years.
So what can you do when The Block temporarily renders you helpless and unable to write? Here are ten tips on how you can beat The Block -- straight from the mouth of writers who've been attacked too!
There are still lots of other ways to get rid of The Block. You can use one or all the above tips to cure The Block that keeps on plaguing you.
- "I try to sit with it and go do something active. I'm thinking maybe there's a valid reason I'm stuck; also, writer's block tends to generate lots of energy within and swirling about me, so *doing* something physical helps to disperse that energy." -- Lynn T Anderson
- "I talk to someone about what I am writing and through talking about it I get feedback, ideas, and a new way of looking at my work." -- Jamie Ridlon
- "When I have writer's block, I sit and "free form" ideas for stories, with the stipulation to myself that I will NOT write them for awhile, just play with ideas." -- Svali
- "Look something up in one of the encyclopaedias and try and write something similar of my own based on the facts." -- Clare
- "I work in my flower or vegetable gardens. Getting really close to the earth and nature helps to unclog my thinking process." -- Mary LaBranche
- "Go for a walk. I think about the piece I am working on and play with scenes and even dialogue in my mind until I come up with something that feels right. The exercise and the fresh air usually start the creative juices flowing again." -- Char Austin
- "I have found that it is best not to struggle with it, but to leave that particular project by itself for awhile...perhaps even several days. Then usually little thoughts begin to creep in, and I am off and running again. Often the project turns out to be far different than it began...but that is ok too, because I am still creating. If the block is before I even know what I am going to write about...I keep a number of potential subjects on file, adding to the list from time-to-time. Also, often someone will say just a word or two, and as I think about it, it becomes the germ of a poem for me." -- R. Dean Ludden
- "Read something totally different from what I'm working on -- even if it's the newspaper. Again, getting my mind on something different helps dissolve that 'block.'" -- Lynn F Pena
- "I imagine a real person that I know, someone who is like the people in my target audience. Okay, now in my mind I'm looking at my friend Cindy. This is so much easier than a blank piece of paper! How would I explain what I want to explain to her? My kids will tell you I feel no shame in talking to myself. I just talk out loud until I feel convincing, and then I scramble for a piece of paper to capture my "brilliance" on. Haha! My first attempt at brilliance is usually about as shiny as a lump of coal--but it always has diamond potential." -- Rebecca Armstrong.
- "If I'm really having problems with a certain project, I'll put it aside. Not throw it away, but just leave it alone. It's there whenever (if ever) I want to pick it up again. Most important, I try not to get too upset with myself if something isn't working. That's just added pressure. If I need a day to just goof off, I try not to feel too guilty about it. (Easier to say than in practice, I'll admit.)" -- Steve B.
Copyright © 2001 Shery Ma Belle Arrieta-Russ
Shery Ma Belle Arrieta-Russ creates and teaches free e-mail courses for writers at WritingBliss.com. Sign up for a class today.
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