At Preflight Books we know that writer’s block can seem like an insurmountable obstacle in your journey to becoming a published author. The best advice comes from those who have overcome this obstacle before. That is why we asked some of our very own Preflight Books authors to share their top tips to beat writer’s block.
Kelly Alder – The 14th Wife
Writer’s Block, hmmm… I’m certainly familiar with this. Having just published a book that took seven years to complete, I’ve more than once experienced the frustration of staring at a blank screen. Here are my top three tips for getting out of a writing slump.
1. Don’t beat yourself up. Sometimes you just need a break, so go and do something completely different. Go for a walk, go rock climbing, bake a cake, watch a movie. Allow yourself time off and give your writing mind a rest. I had plenty of short and longer ‘breaks’ during the writing of my book. Some would last a few days, some a few months. I decided that I would not stress about it and that these ‘breaks’ would last however long they needed to. Giving myself this mental space took the pressure off so that when I did come back to write, I felt refreshed and engaged.
2. Write something for someone else. Since I finished my book, I have been in a bit of a production slump. I hadn’t added to my blog in over a year, and I didn’t know what to do next. A few weeks ago, my writing tutor asked me to write an article for her blog, and it was amazing how bashing out 500 words got me excited and fired up again. It’s so much easier to write for someone else, especially when they give you a theme and a deadline.
3. Join a writing course or online writing group. Writing within a group provides you with a camaraderie that can give you the boost you need. I found this extremely helpful when I was floundering; they gave me focus and provided support. I don’t think I would have finished my book without the structure and encouragement I received from enrolling in these types of groups.
Nthabeleng Sekhokoane – Sing Thando Sing
Facebook: Sing Thando Sing
My three top tips to get out of a writer’s block are:
1. Remove yourself from the situation completely. For me, writing is cathartic and if I feel like I have a block and can’t write any longer, I remove myself and come back to it when I’m refreshed and rested. No matter how long it takes.
2. Write in the wee hours of the morning. I find this time to be the most peaceful and quiet. My brain is more alert and focused at this time too. This is a great time to try to get rid of your writer’s block.
3. Get involved in other things that interest you besides writing. Always fall back on something that you enjoy doing when you can’t write anymore. I find that works for me.
Above all, never pressure yourself. A writer’s block is normal. Go back to writing when your heart allows.
Sbongumusa Thabethe – Recurrence
Writer’s block is all too common in the world of writing. Whether you’re a beginner, professional, or expert, we’ve all suffered under the hand of our archnemesis, writer’s block, whose slogan ought to read:
“When you cannot write any further; reaching for the archives of your mind, in a last-ditch effort,
you sit in silence, staring at the page for hours, hoping for lightning to strike,
but alas, the birds are chirping and the sun is shining.”
Here I’ll be sharing with you three tips which I’ve found to be very helpful when dealing with Writer’s Block.
1. STOP! It sounds counterproductive but bear with me. The most valuable asset to a writer is the mind, not the pen. When experiencing writer’s block, put the pen down and take a step back! Don’t be afraid of walking away. Writer’s block is the brain’s way of letting you know that you’ve reached the threshold of creative fatigue. The last thing you want is an unnecessary headache. Simply, stop!
2. Do Something else and relax! In the famous words of William Shakespeare: “To be or not to be…”To be inspired, first, you need to be uninspired. Inspiration comes when you’re least expecting it. Rather than trying to worry and overthink, relax! Try doing something else instead, something you enjoy. It could be as simple as taking a walk or drinking a cup of coffee. We all have something that puts us at ease. I found it best to do something related to the intended topic. For instance, if you’re writing a comedy article, it’s best to do something related to comedy, like dancing and singing. This is not to say that dancingis comedic in itself, but it is certainly better than watching a sad movie. Nothing says goodbye to hard work like an unintended distraction. Do something that’s likely to inspire your creativity.
3. Write, write, write! So, you’ve laid down the pen or walked away from the computer screen, listened to your favorite song on repeat, but somehow nothing seems to be working. You’ve done it all and still you can’t seem to escape the tight grip of writer’s block. Lucky for you, the final tip is just as useful as the first. Write!
I can hear you sighing your lungs out in utter defeat, “How can I write if I don’t know what to write?”. Well, write about how you feel! If your mind is on vacation, somewhere in the Bahamas, or perhaps somewhere around the corner, then use your heart. Write about how you feel now. All the frustration, anger, hopelessness… write it down. Emotion is a good substitute where logic and reason seem to fail you. When creativity takes a backseat, emotion will gladly lead you through. Just write. You’ll be surprised at how many pages you can actually fill without noticing.
Paul Sutherland – Amani the Boda-boda Rider, Virtue of Wealth, Lonwabo’s New Home, Happy Girl Happy Boy, A Boy Named Justice and many more
Books: BK Publishing Shop
Facebook: STEPi Squaring the Education Pyramid Institute
1. Does your brain ever hurt because you are thinking so hard about what’s next, or a subject for your book? We have lazy brains, so we don’t want them to work too hard. Brains, by the way, are 2% of our body mass but use 20% of our energy. So, to conserve energy, we are wired to have lazy brains. Also, when we think too hard, we can have emotional responses and that is no fun. So many writers will just walk away, and not work through the problem, and thus never get their brain conditioned to really work creatively and reliably.
2. Meditation. When I do get stuck, and my brain is just fried, I sit! I sit quietly in my closet on a pillow and watch my breath. Usually for 20 minutes (Mindfulness in Plain English is a great book on how to meditate – it has a free online PDF version).
3. Realize your brain is always working on your stuff. Trust it and keep your note taking stuff nearby. I use my phone and email myself the ideas.
4. It’s a job. Spend the hours in front of your computer to create something cool.
5. Fail. My first book got 27 rejection slips before it was finally accepted by the largest publisher in the world.
6. Lastly, if you are a writer, write. Even if you are the worst writer in the, world you are doing what you are meant to do. So, be the best bad writer that you can be!
Beat writer’s block!
Now that you know how to beat writer’s block, get that manuscript done and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org or complete a quote request on our website!