Ah, writer’s block. The bane of writers everywhere. But fear not! For those of us who struggled with blocks or slumps that prevented productivity in 2023, here are some tips and tricks to keep your writing flowing throughout 2024.
5 Tricks to Beat Writer's Block
As unintuitive as it sounds, taking breaks is just as crucial to the creative process as writing. Whenever I find myself staring at a blank page for hours, or on the edge of burning out, I'll step away and do something else. Taking a walk, washing the dishes, reading a good book, or just spending some time with loved ones can be a great way to refresh and reset… and you may even find the inspiration you need just by doing something new. Either way, breaks help you come back to your manuscript with fresh eyes.
Always keep in mind, however, that your “break” shouldn’t be indefinite. That’s procrastination. Instead, try setting a specific return time or date before you take your break. Give yourself however long you think you need to relax, reset, and get back in touch with your creativity… but when you hit your deadline, make yourself get back in the chair and write!
Switch it up
Does your writer’s block stem from one particular scene or chapter you just can’t work your way through? Give yourself permission to skip ahead. Write what feels right to you in the moment. As long as you’re getting your ideas on the page, things will fall into place from there. Remember: first drafts are allowed to be messy, and you can always come back to the problem section later. Maybe working on another scene will even solve whatever issue halted your pace before.
Connect with your motivation
If you’re at a point in your manuscript where you’ve lost the sense of fun or excitement, take a step back and consider what about your concept motivated you initially. Let yourself fall in love with your project again! Maybe that involves putting together a mood board, creating a playlist, or going back to the drawing board to fiddle with your outline, themes, or timeline. Perhaps you need to change directions or start a new draft. You might even realize you never felt very excited about this idea at all; you were just writing what you thought other people wanted. Whatever the case, find what it is that excites you and start writing from there.
Write something else
Many people set a certain standard for their drafts, and that standard makes writing much more difficult for them. If your perfectionism is getting in the way of actually working on your project, try putting your manuscript aside for a moment and writing something with lower stakes. You can journal, follow a prompt, free write, or do whatever else calls to you. The exercise itself doesn’t matter; you just need to get as many words on the page as you can. Work on this side project for a set amount of time right before your writing session—say, fifteen minutes—and then return to your manuscript. You’ll be surprised by how much better your writing flows now that you’re warmed up and unafraid to jot down whatever pops into your head!
Get in the chair and write
Yes, writing can be hard... even when you’re not in a slump or struggling with writer’s block. But if you don’t sit down in the chair and write, you’ll never tell your story. Try setting a regular time to work on your manuscript and sticking with that time, even when you don’t feel like it. And if you struggle to prioritize your writing time, schedule an accountability partner to write with you and keep you honest. You can write daily or weekly, for minutes or hours, alone or with other writers. However you prefer to work, scheduling your writing time and committing to it will help ensure that you’re keeping words flowing, even when writer’s block and slumps threaten to slow you down.
There are many different causes for writing slumps, and just as many different solutions. Yet every tip and trick boils down to one simple truth: the key to ending writer's block is writing. It's up to you to find the schedule and methods that best suit your creative needs, put your pen to the page, and let the words flow.
Still have questions?
Let me know! I'm always happy to answer comments, or you can reach out to me at my contact page.