William Faulkner said, “I only write when I am inspired. Fortunately I am inspired at 9 o’clock every morning.” If only it were that easy, right? If someone tells you they wrote an entire book without once facing a creative lapse (AKA writer’s block), I’d bet my mortgage they’re lying. (Don’t tell my hubby I said that. Just. In. Case.)
Think writer’s block only affects author-entrepreneurs (aka not professional writers)? Nope. - @jodibrandon
Think writer’s block only affects author-entrepreneurs (aka not professional writers)? Nope. Check out these quotes: (Is it wrong that it makes me feel a teeny bit better that they deal with writer’s block, too?)
“I have gravity boots [to overcome writer’s block]. I hang upside down everyday. I realise it sounds strange, but it’s not all that strange. It oxygenates your brain. It helps you see the world in a different perspective.” - Dan Brown
“Pretend that you’re writing not to your editor or to an audience or to a readership, but to someone close, like your sister, or your mother, or someone that you like.” - John Steinbeck, via George Plimpton
“[My cure for writer’s block?] The necessity of earning a living.” - James Ellroy
“There’s no such thing as writer's block. That was invented by people in California who couldn’t write.” - Terry Pratchett
Writing is like a muscle. Use it or lose it! That means you need to write regularly to decrease the chances of facing such a block. Establishing a regular writing routine and practicing your craft regularly (preferably daily) is so important to good writing.
Even if you DO write every day, though, that doesn’t make you immune to a block. What should you do if you find yourself staring at a blinking cursor on a blank screen (or, if you’re old school, a blank sheet of paper)? Here are some suggestions to reset your brain and get the creative juices flowing:
- Take a short break. Maybe take a walk around the block, or put on your favorite song and dance it out for a few minutes, or play fetch with your pup for a few minutes.
- Move your laptop to another room. Sometimes a change of scenery does the trick.
Important note: There is a fine line between “I need a break to get the writing juices flowing” and “it’s just not happening today.” While I believe there are days that no good writing comes, I’m a firmer believer that there comes a time when you need to simply park your tush in a chair and write, even if you write “I don’t know what to write today.” 50 times in a row. If you’ve taken a short break, tried again, and have flexibility to adjust your writing schedule so that you don’t fall too far behind, then cut yourself some slack. You can revise bad writing but if nothing is happening and you’ve given it a fair shot, then call it a day. (Only you can decide how much time equates to “a fair shot” for you, by the way. For me, it’s about 20 minutes.)
What do you do to combat writer’s block? Tell me in the comments!