Five ways to avoid writing blank

It happens to every writer, sooner or later; you sit down to compose and – nothing. It’s often called ‘writers block’. Often it happens when you’re brimming with ideas – but the words just don’t flow.

1197094932257185876johnny_automatic_books_svg_medThe reason is because we think of things as concepts, without words – shapes and patterns. They are usually simultaneous. Whereas writing is a linear exercise, and words are limiting and imperfect vehicles for conveying concept. Hence the stall.

I’ve got a few ways around it:

1. Stuck on the first words – no problem. Start writing in the middle. You can always backfill. Word processors are wonderful inventions. Remember, a bad first draft is better than no first draft.

2. Take a ten minute break – do something mindless like a quick blat on some computer game, or the housework (extra tip: the blat game is more fun, but in my household, the housework earns more brownie points with She Who Must Be Obeyed).

3. Go for a walk – no more than 20 minutes. Think about the problem along the way. But also let your mind wander.

4. If you’re still stuck, take a total break – some hours, even come back tomorrow.

5. Finally – brute force. Sometimes deadlines press. Get a piece of paper and write down any ideas you have. Look for patterns. Get a structure – and try Tip 1.

Do any of these work for you?

Copyright © Matthew Wright 2013

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3 comments on “Five ways to avoid writing blank

  1. Breaks really help me plow through. I think many writers struggle with guilt when we break away, but it’s almost always worth it! Unless it turns into a form of procrastination, of course. Great tips!

  2. […] Sometimes, time won’t permit. That’s where brute force comes into play. It involves all the usual techniques for unsticking writing block – taking a walk, doing the dishes (or something) then getting back to it. Then get back to the […]

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