It’s a Bank Holiday today and I’m bored so I’ve decided to answer one of the default questions that Goodreads presents to every author who signs up to their author program. The question I’ve chosen to tackle is perhaps the most common one an author gets asked: how do you deal with writer’s block? What I find most interesting about this particular question is the assumption that writer’s block is inherently a problem, and that it needs to be overcome. Personally, I’ve never viewed the matter in those terms so writer’s block has never been a genuine source of frustration to me. Whenever my own creative writing is brought to a grinding halt by writer’s block, I take it as a sign that I need to take a break from my story, so that’s exactly what I do. And depending on my frame of mind that break will manifest in one of the following six ways.
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Write Something Else
If I am still in a storytelling mood when writer’s block strikes, I set aside my work in progress but continue writing, making notes for the myriad other story ideas constantly floating around my head, or fleshing a pre-existing outline for another story I intend to write in the future. However long or brief this diversion ends up being I generally find that at the end of it I’m ready to resume work on my current WIP, without further hindrance from writer’s block.
As a general rule I like to have music playing quietly in the background while I’m writing. I mention this because on some of those occasions when writer’s block compels me to take a break from my work in progress, I simply sit back (or go lie down), turn up the volume and listen to music until I’m ready to return to my WIP. I have found this to be a very effective way to get through bouts of writer’s block as music has always helped me creatively with my writing. So, it comes as no surprise when I find myself quickly rejuvenated to tackle my story once more.
Grab A Book
There are other occasions when my need to take a break from my writing requires me to completely set aside my imaginary worlds and lose myself in someone else’s; this is where a good book comes in. Reading for a few hours is a great way to take my mind off my own writing until I feel ready to resume working on a WIP.
Surf The Interwebs
If I need more frivolous diversions to get me through a period of writer’s block, the internet has a wealth of such things so I go online to kill some time. There are so many websites I have bookmarked, and so many blogs I am subscribed to that it’s easy to put my stalled work in progress out of my mind for a few hours.
Another frivolous pastime that is helpful in getting me over writer’s block is computer games. While my serious gaming days are long behind me, I still enjoy the occasional bout of retro gaming. Whether it is a quick burst of Breakout, Pac-man, Tetris, Bomberman or Xenon, a quick fix of gaming nostalgia can often be enough to get me back in the mood to get back to work on my creative writing.
Finally, perhaps my favourite activity to engage in while waiting for the conclusion of a spell of writer’s block is to step away from my desk, leave the house (or library) and go for a long walk. Being able to mentally switch off for thirty minutes to an hour, while getting some air outdoors, is tremendously beneficial. I would certainly recommend it to any writers having trouble getting through their own writer’s block.
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There you have it; how I deal with writer’s block. These things may not be of help to everyone but they tend to serve me pretty well. Feel free to let me know what works for you by leaving a reply in the comment box below.
Thanks for reading,