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7 Ways to Overcome Writer’s Block

If you're struggling with writer's block, don't get discouraged. Novelist Brian Moreland offers his top 7 tips to overcome a block and get back to writing productively.

If you're struggling with writer's block, don't get discouraged. This happens to every great writer at some point, and it’s easy to overcome it. I get stuck many times in the middle of a novel. I lose my muse and don't feel like writing. I stare at the computer screen and no words come to mind. My head feels stuck, stuck, stuck. It can be frustrating. After twenty years of writing historical thrillers and supernatural horror novels, I’ve learned how to get past writer’s block. 

(The Writer, The Inner Critic, & The Slacker)

Here are 7 powerful ways you can get back into the flow of writing

1.) Step away from whatever you’re writing and do anything that's creative

Paint pictures, write poetry, design images in Photoshop, make a scrapbook or collage, or if you’re masculine, build something in the garage. Work on another creative project for a few hours or days and then go back to writing. When I'm stuck, I paint paintings or work on my website or blog. Jumping to other projects really activates my creativity. The key is to keep exercising the creative part of your brain and eventually, you’ll tap back into the flow of writing.

2). Do freewriting

Spend 15 minutes or more a day writing whatever comes off the top of your head. Ignore punctuation. Just write freely. Allow it to be totally random. You might change subjects many times. You might mix fiction with journaling or vent frustrations. The process trains your brain to tap into the words inside your head and gives them a place to live on your computer screen or journal. Do this for a week and then return to your writing project. An alternative is to free-write 15-20 minutes to get your thoughts out and then immediately return to writing your book or article. Some of my freewriting entries inspired new ideas for my books.

Dead of Winter by Brian Moreland

Dead of Winter by Brian Moreland

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3.) Move your body

Dance, practice yoga, or Tai Chi. This may sound funny, but when you get your body into flow, your mind follows. Meditate and take long, deep breaths. A relaxed mind is more open. An open mind is more imaginative. You can focus longer when you are in a peaceful state. Sometimes I step away from writing, do some yoga poses and breathing, then return to writing in a more creative state.

4.) Eliminate distractions

Turn off the phone and unplug from the internet. Clean up your workspace. A cluttered desk puts the mind in a state of confusion. Carve out some time in your schedule just for writing—at least three to four hours. Ask loved ones to honor your space so you can write without interruptions, or write when everyone in the house is sleeping. Giving yourself time and space to be in solitude is important to staying focused.

7 Ways to Overcome Writer’s Block

5.) Write early in the morning

When you first wake up, your brain is still in Theta mode, the brainwave pattern that your mind is in when you dream. My best writing happens when I get up at 4:00 or 5:00 a.m. I’m amazed at what my mind comes up with while I'm still half asleep.

6.) Write while you sleep

Your subconscious mind is always problem-solving, even when you’re sleeping. Sometimes when I’m stuck on a chapter I’ll write for 15-30 minutes prior to bedtime. I’ll think about the problem chapter as I fall asleep. The next morning I usually wake up with a solution to the problem and get back into the flow of writing. I’ll see the scene from a fresh perspective or my characters will say or do things that take my story in an exciting new direction.

(Embracing the Blank Page: Why All Writing is an Act of Courage)

7.) If nothing else works, I resort to my number one, lethal weapon to cure writer’s block: the Glass-of-Water Technique

Before bed, fill up a glass of water. Hold it up and speak an intention into the water. (Example: My intent is to tap into my creative source and write brilliantly tomorrow. I choose to be in the flow of my best writing. I am resolving my story’s issues as I sleep and dream). Drink half the water and then set the half-full glass on your nightstand. Go to sleep. When you wake up the next morning, drink the rest of the water immediately. Then go straight to your computer and write for at least an hour without distraction. This may seem a bit out there, but give it a try. It works! Do this technique for three nights straight. It gets me out of my writer's block every time, often the next morning and definitely within 72 hours.

When you apply one or all of these methods, you’ll find that writer’s block is simply a minor speed bump that you can overcome easily and stay in the creative flow. Happy writing!

Fearless Writing William Kenower

If you love to write and have a story you want to tell, the only thing that can stand between you and the success you’re seeking isn’t craft, or a good agent, or enough Facebook friends and Twitter followers, but fear. Fear that you aren’t good enough, or fear the market is too crowded, or fear no one wants to hear from you. Fortunately, you can’t write while being in the flow and be afraid simultaneously. The question is whether you will write fearlessly.

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