Friday, 1 July 2016

Six Steps to Breaking Writer's Block

Writer’s block. That mysterious phenomenon where the writing hobby or job you once loved more than chocolate turns into the equivalent of a broccoli casserole. 
When your mind is all locked up, what can you do? 
Sometimes my mind feels like this.


I had about five different contributing factors collide at once recently, giving me my first real case of writer's block. Here’s what worked for me to break it: 

1.       Have a break. 

Sometimes it's not easy to fit in around deadlines, but removing that pressure does allow your creativity to breathe again. 

2.       Watch and read whatever you want.  

It can be trashy. It can be sad. It can be that weird indie movie your workmate told you about. Just consume a lot of whatever tickles your fancy.  For me, this meant half a season of I Dream of Jeannie (my housemate bought the box set for $17), a good dose of New Girl, and sprinklings of Blindspot and Once Upon A Time.  On the reading side of things, I read a book by Smart B****** Trashy Books which discussed the romance genre over the decades. Simply reading about character types and favourite plot lines made me excited about writing again. From there I downloaded a whole tonne of samples of romances from authors I’d never tried before. I didn’t end up buying a single one of them, but just tasting a whole bunch of new writing was encouraging.  


3.       Take your priorities to God. 

Evaluate your current priorities and give them to God. See if any changes need to happen. Go to Him for strength and remember, at the end of the day, it's His love that gives our lives value and purpose, not our writing. 
Has God set your priorities?



4.       Stop judging yourself and others. 

I don't know about you guys, but here's how it goes in my head: 

  1. I see something I don't like in someone else's work.  
  2. I vow never to make that mistake.  
  3. realise I've made that mistake.  
  4. I try really hard to make my writing perfect and eradicate that mistake.  
  5. I lose my mind.  
  6. I remember that it's impossible to be perfect, and trying to strive for it is killing my ability to write. 
  7. I stop criticising others, and myself. 
  8. The words peek their eyes around the corner of my mind and try to decide whether it's safe to return yet or not. 
So take my advice, save yourself the pain, and tune out that nasally voice in your head that critiques everyone's work. 

 


5.       Write some trash. 

It doesn't have to be good. It doesn't even need to make sense. Just get some words on a page and have fun doing it.  
Write something. Anything. Just for fun.



6.       Look for patterns in what you’ve enjoyed. 

It's impossible to see in the midst of writer's block, but once you've saturated your brain in some mindless entertainment, there's definite patterns in what content you enjoy. Find those themes and let them increase your passion for your writing project.  

Those steps are based in my own recent experience, but I'd love to hear wisdom from all you writers out there! What's your favourite method for dealing with writer's block? 


Jessica Everingham is an Australian writer. She prefers the term 'writer' because it's too hard to say 'eLearning developer, former journalist and aspiring author' all in one sentence. She is busy editing her contemporary novel, Hating Jeremy Walters, and planning her next work.She loves to catch up with fellow readers and writers via Facebook (www.facebook.com/jessicaeveringhamwriting), Twitter (@JessEveringham), Goodreads or over at her blogSmoke signals also acceptable.

  


6 comments:

  1. Some great encouragement, Jess. Thank you. I find when I'm struggling to get something on the page your No 5 works for me. Just write and allow the Spirit access to the page.

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  2. I lose my mind more often than you do ...

    I'm about to start Camp Nano, so this is timely advice. Thanks!

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