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Documenting my odyssey into the wonderful world of fantasy writing and beyond. Can't promise I will always be on topic as the world is vast and full of such wonderous, and sometimes terrible, distractions. Email me: cassandra.jade.author@gmail.com

19 July, 2009

Writer's Block

Starting tomorrow I am beginning a series of posts about plot and I am really looking forward to it. Before I begin that series though I just wanted to take a bit of time out to talk about writer's block.

Ask google to define writer's block and this is what you get: The inability to write.

So it amazes me how every single day twitter is flooded with posts such as:

ear0wax Writers Block!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
mynameismickey I have writers Block :(
hollzyy writers block AHH
gigglesmack trying to write a story but has writers block

Not only do they generally not bother with the apostrophe but they become reasonably repetitive. The far more useful post would be when the writer says they are doing such and such to get around their writer's block. That is actually something all writers would have an interest in because we all experience lulls in our writing flow and sometimes those suggestions are just what we need to get going again.

Plus, if they are writing a post on twitter, I'm not sure that writer's block is the problem.

The problem becomes one of focus, or that a particular project is not going well, or (like most of the rest of us on twitter) they have things to do but are just having too much fun distracting themselves elsewhere.

For those genuinely stuck with writer's block there are many suggestions out there to help get you writing again (some good, some bad, some random) but usually writing anything can help get you started. K. M. Weiland gave an interesting guest post in May on how to create inspiration for those feeling uninspired.

So here is a very basic list of ways to get going again:

  • Read through your planning notes and look at where your story is going - it could be you are getting stuck because you aren't sure where it is you want to be
  • If you are stuck on a particular segment but you know what is going to happen, skip over it and write something for another section. Sometimes that can help get you focused on your project again.
  • Take a character or event or place from your story and write a short story around it - separate from your main project.
  • Before you start to write, create a list of what you want to accomplish in the session.
  • Find a writing prompt exercise to begin with before starting work on your project.
  • If you haven't written in days, it may be time to start a new project and come back to the one that has you going around the bend.
As writer's block does afflict many and finding ways to get focused can sometimes be difficult, I would love it if you would share your methods for overcoming it.


  1. My secrets to fight Writers Block:

    1. Stick to a writing schedule -- write something everyday, or whenever you have time to write, even if it's just crap. No ideas? Jot down stream of consciousness. Something good might come of it. If you stop writing, that's when the Evil Block wins.

    2. Keep a journal. I write down my dreams, but it doesn't have to be a dream journal. A notebook of fragments, ideas, sketches, anything can be a great source of inspiration for those days and nights when you feel your mind blanking out on you.

    3. Never, ever, throw anything out that you've written. Even if it seems like garbage, even if you're embarrassed by it, even if it's not anything you'll ever share with anyone. I've been inspired by lame stories I wrote as a kid or years-old outlines of tales I never completed, or half-finished screenplays. Throw something out that you wrote and it's gone forever. Keep it and you never know -- you might re-read it someday and see it all in a fresh new light that could break through any Writer's Block.

    4. Chat with a fellow writer about movies or TV shows you've seen, books you've read. You don't have to talk about writing, but eventually you'll probably end up talking about plot, characters, things that might spark ideas about your own stories or new stories altogether.

    5. Take a break and clear your head. Go someplace different -- the park, the zoo, a museum, the beach, a drive. A change of scenery is a guaranteed way to get you thinking about new things, and when you think about new things, guess what, new writing ideas begin popping up in your head.

    Happy writing, everyone.


  2. Thanks Nick for sharing some great advice.

  3. Great tips, Cassandra and Nick!

    Complete and utter deadline panic keeps me going pretty effectively. :) But I also use the work-on-a-different-scene method.

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  4. Having just finished a submission for a deadline, I know that deadline panic doesn't keep me writing. I ahve to find some other motivating force to keep me writing - though usually that isn't difficult until I get up to the editing stage.