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Coping with Writer's Block
© 1996 by Robyn Amos
This article may not be reprinted or distributed without the permission of the author.


Journaling — Many people find it helpful to clear their minds before they start writing. Sitting down for ten or fifteen minutes and writing down whatever is on your mind can help you get into the mood to write. Write about anything you like and for as long as you need to. Often when it's time to stop, you'll want to keep going!


Timed Writing — Sometimes when we have a difficult scene to write or we're not in the mood, giving ourselves a time limit can get us started. Set your timer (no less than 15 minutes!) and force yourself to sit still and put words on the screen (or paper) until the timer goes off. Then one of two things will happen, either you'll have moved passed the block and continue to write freely, or you'll have completed your goal for the day and can move on to something else without feeling guilty.


Free Writing — This is different from journaling because it's focused only on your book. Write whatever comes to your mind about your characters, plot or an upcoming scene. It doesn't matter if it's good or something you've already written about. The important thing is to ease yourself back into your story. Soon you should tap into some new ideas that will keep your words flowing.


Brainstorm with a Buddy — I have a critique group to bounce ideas off of when I get stuck in my story, but any friend (or willing stranger) will do. Sometimes it doesn't even matter if you agree with the suggestions you're offered. The important thing is to talk about your book out loud and look at your weak spots in a different light.


Just do it! — No pain no gain. I've found that the method that works best for me when I have writer's block is to sit down and write whether I think it's good or not. Even if you throw 90% of it away later, the act of writing is accomplishment and that 10% that's worth saving is 10% more than you'd started with.