Knocking writers’ block into submission

Although some writers deny there’s any such thing as ‘writer’s block’, the fact is that all too often writers sit down for a writing session and…nothing.

Wright_Typewriter01Sometimes it’s because the muse has fled. Sometimes it’s because the list of Good Ideas just won’t translate into the written sentence.

For a lucky few of us it’s possible to simply walk away and come back later when the muse is being more co-operative – but that doesn’t work in professional writing. Journalists are hit with deadlines that must be met. Publishers contract deadlines to manuscripts for good reason – not least of them because publishing is a commercial business and they have to be able to plan it.

Those doing NaNoWriMo have the same problem. You have four weeks to write 50,000 words. A blank page or computer screen isn’t an option. And every day when you don’t write 1,666 words means on another day you’ll have to write 3332. Or more.

How to escape the problem? One way is to dislodge the ‘block moment’ without interrupting the ‘writing mood’. Try these quick-fire techniques:

1. Do some housework for about 20 minutes.
2. Go for a brisk walk. Not too long – about 20 minutes again. It’s good exercise, and you can let your mind wander. There’s a pretty good chance that the answer will drift in.
3. Start – anywhere. That’s the beauty of word processors. You can back-fill.
4. Write anything – if you have a word processor, deleting’s easy. So’s re-jigging.  A bad first draft is infinitely better than no first draft.

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If you want to know more about ways to write – methods and techniques for getting up to speed and writing that book fast – check out my short quick-start manual How to get writing… fast. Available on Kindle.

Copyright © Matthew Wright 2016

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3 thoughts on “Knocking writers’ block into submission

  1. I tried NaNoWriMo four years back and didn’t like the writing style, I prefer to take my time over writing. Although I know the method worked for some (Jack Kerouac).

    Good tips, though. I usually wake up early – 5am at the weekend. My head’s swimming with ideas and I just go from there. Starting anywhere and backfilling is an excellent tip. I tend to only write creatively if I have ideas, too.

    Failing that, I just get wasted on cheap wine and scrawl at whatever enters me head! Just joking, though. This has worked for others, though.

    1. The NaNo contest is artifice in mamy ways because it is built around writers early in the learning curve pushing out a novel at speeds that even experienced writers seldom tackle. It is better to take time. On the other hand, the element of contest does give it a certain motivation, not dissimilar to the cuffing that most authors get from their bank manager…

      1. I like the community spirit involved, I don’t look down at it with too much contempt! :oP

        So with that in mind it’s a good support network. I just didn’t like it at all. However, I may go ahead and open my “Write a Novel in a Day!” centre. Perfectly manageable.

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