Writers’ block is an occupational hazard for writers. I’ve seen people claim there is no such thing – but actually there is. You sit down to write something – or to edit what you’ve written – and nothing happens. Blank. Here’s why – and how to get around it.
- Blank page syndrome 1
Possibly this is ‘classic’ block. You sit down with a blank screen or piece of paper and nothing happens. The reason why is that your thoughts are stuck in your framework – which isn’t just what you’re trying to write but also the environment you’re writing it in. So change it. Pick up your laptop and go somewhere else. Or leave it behind and go for a walk (not too long, maybe 10-15 minutes). Better still, go and do something around the house for the same period. Change your medium – switch from computer to pen and paper.
- Blank page syndrome 2
There’s a variation on the blank page syndrome – you know what you want to say, but can’t figure how to say it. OK, try this: don’t. Leave a blank or add a note saying you’ll back-fill, and carry on writing the next bit. After a while, go back and write in the word you want. Or, if you’re stuck on the first words of the piece, go on to the middle sentence of a paragraph, or another paragraph. Then go back and do the beginning. (Actually, this is a handy technique anyway because it tells you what the first sentence should be).
- Help! I can’t see how to get out of the tangle I’ve written myself into.
What you’ve written defines your thought patterns – trapping you in the blocked mind-set. Take a brief break. Save the original document. Then start with a blank screen and go from scratch. Yup – total re-write. Remember: words are cheap. Structure and content isn’t. And it’s the structure and content you need to nail. Take what you’ve re-written and compare it to the original. Does that help?
Do these techniques work for you?
Copyright © Matthew Wright 2016