Publish date:

How to Overcome Writer's Block Like a Bestselling Author

Writers everywhere have or will lack writing inspiration. Whether you need help to overcome writer's block, or are simply looking for inspiration for writing, read our today's tip, taken from Write Great Fiction: Revision and Self-Editing by James Scott Bell.

We all have times in our writing when the words get stuck, or the story we’re writing just won’t get going again. Sometimes, we sit at our desks and fail even to get an idea. Time doesn’t fly, but drags, like Igor shuffling across the mad scientist’s laboratory. If it gets real bad, we may think we’re characters in an actual horror movie called The Block That Would Not Die. This is what writer's block is.

Revision & Self-Editing | Overcoming Writers Block

The most important thing to remember at this point is not to give in to despair. All creative people have moments when the flow dries up. So know this: It can, and will, be overcome.

How to Avoid Writer's Block & Write Creatively

  • Writing Warm Ups. Say you’re working on a novel, and you are about to begin your daily stint. Do some simple, free association writing exercises to get your creative juices flowing. Try writing without stopping to edit for ten straight minutes and let the writing take you on any tangents you wish. The object is not to write anything to publish, though ideas often come from this exercise. The aim is to get into a creative state of mind.
  • Try a Creative Writing Prompt. Another creative writing exercise is to take a writing prompt and try to write a page-long sentence. Take an aspect of your story—a character sketch or scene—and write a sentence that goes for a whole page without using any punctuation and employing as many techniques as you like, such as dialogue, flashback, and description. This creative exercise will help free you from artificial constraints when you start your writing.
  • Focus on Writing a Scene. Instead of seeing your whole literary novel, focus on the immediate scene you’re working on. Just concentrate on the scene within the frame, and nothing else. You’ll find revising is not so daunting when viewed this way.
  • Have an Editing Strategy. Learn to identify the most important tasks for revising your manuscript, and start with the important ones.

The Best Writer's Block Method for Getting Over Writer's Block

One of the best writer's block method and part of overcoming writer's block is knowing any writing problems you have can be fixed. The phrase, “I can fix it,” is worth putting up in your writing space. All it takes is the right tools and experience, which you get both the more you write and proofread. Some changes to your story will be more painful than others and you may have to tear up a lot of your book and start over, but remind yourself that all this work is worth improving your book. Imagine the look on an editor’s or agent’s face. They are hoping to find that next great manuscript. Let it be yours and anticipate that it will be.

Today's tip was taken from Write Great Fiction: Revision and Self-Editing by James Scott Bell. Learn other writing tips and participate in our daily writing prompts to improve your writing!

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: The Characterless Character

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: The Characterless Character

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so this series helps identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is writing a characterless character.

When Is My Novel Ready to Read: 7 Self-Editing Processes for Writers

When Is My Novel Ready to Read: 7 Self-Editing Processes for Writers

Fiction editor and author Kris Spisak ties together her seven processes for self-editing novels, including editorial road-mapping, character differentiation analysis, reverse editing, and more.

Poetic Forms

Englyn Unold Crwca: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the englyn unold crwca, a Welsh quatrain form.

5 Things for Writers to Keep in Mind When Writing About Spies

5 Things for Writers to Keep in Mind When Writing About Spies

A spy thriller requires more than a compelling story and clever plot twists—the characters need to feel real. Author Stephanie Marie Thornton offers 5 tips for constructing believable spy characters.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Unexpected Team Up

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Unexpected Team Up

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, it's time for a little unexpected team work.

Taylor Anderson: On Creating Realism in the Weird

Taylor Anderson: On Creating Realism in the Weird

New York Times bestselling author Taylor Anderson discusses the process of writing his new science fiction novel, Purgatory's Shore.

6 Books Perfect for Fall Reading

6 Books Perfect for Fall Reading

Whether you're looking for something cozy or a little spooky, these books are perfect for the fall season.

NaNoWriMo: To Prep or Not to Prep?

NaNoWriMo: To Prep or Not to Prep?

When it comes to a 30 day writing challenge like NaNoWriMo, do you need to prep beforehand to achieve success? Well, that might depend on what kind of writer you are.

Sarah Echavarre Smith: On Going for the Out-There Ideas

Sarah Echavarre Smith: On Going for the Out-There Ideas

Copywriter and author Sarah Echavarre Smith discusses the process of writing her new romance novel, On Location.