Tuesday, March 17, 2020

3 Tips For Dealing With Writer's Block

You may have heard writers brag that they never get writer's block. They work to a deadline, they claim, and if they don't write, they don't get paid. They can't afford to have writer's block, so they stave it off through sheer force of will.

These writers are either lying or delusional. Whether you are an author cosmic fiction or you write technical manuals for a living, everyone who sets pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, as the case may be) gets writer's block from time to time.
Fortunately, it isn't terminal. There are ways of working through it

Here are a few thoughtful ideas.

1. Give Yourself Permission To Be Imperfect

Sometimes the words flow freely as you write, and sometimes it seems like you have to fight for every word. Here's a curious fact, however: In either case, what you've written can almost always be improved by revision. Even a draft that you think is "pretty good" can usually be made better.

Let this fact empower you: Your first draft doesn't have to be perfect. It probably won't be. That's okay. You can fix it and make it better later. Nothing you write now is set in stone. In these early stages, at least, give yourself permission to write badly.

2. Don't Start at the Beginning

Do you know the feeling where you know where you want to go with your writing but you're not sure how to get there? When this happens, sometimes it is easier to start at your destination, i.e., the end of the piece, and work backwards. Or, you can start in the middle and work sideways. There are a lot of different entry points to a piece of writing. If you can't get in the front door, trying crawling through a window. In other words, if you're having trouble starting at the beginning, find a place where you feel you can write more easily and start there.

3. Conquer the Power of the White Paper

A white sheet of writing paper is an intimidating thing. It sits there, pristine and perfect, defying you to mar its beauty with your imperfect words.

As you already know, however, imperfection is okay. The way to conquer the paper's power is to negate it by writing something down. Anything will do, even if it is not related to your topic. Try a pre-writing exercise like brainstorming or freewriting for a new perspective on your topic, or just copy down your grandmother's recipe for biscuits. Once the paper is no longer unblemished, it loses its power over you.

By the way, a word processing program on the computer has similar power, but less so because everything you enter into it can be deleted without a trace.

Disclaimer: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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