Saturday, November 12, 2011

Five Things To Do When You Have Writer’s Block.

You can easily find tips on how to overcome writers block by searching in google. Most of them are similar (change environment, go outside etc) and may not actually work for YOU.

So I've come up with a list of 5 things which helped me stay motivated when working on my novel. I know I'm not the best person to take tips from, but I think I can understand what new or young writers experience when trying to write.

I used my last year's NaNoWriMo experience and my problems with finding motivation to write before and after the challenge to come up with 5 things which helped me write through writer's block.
And if your writing habits are anything like mine, they might work or you too!

1. Use write or die.

Write or Die is a web application that encourages writing by punishing the tendency to avoid writing. Start typing in the box. As long as you keep typing, you’re fine, but once you stop typing, you have a grace period of a certain number of seconds and then there are consequences.

And it's free! There's an online version which you can use. I didn't think it would help me, but trust me it did. It literally forces you to write, which is exactly what you need to get rid of the block. Click on the picture to read more about it!

2. Find inspiration.

Writers love to write, but that doesn't mean they always WANT to do it. So, they need inspiration.
Ask yourself, what inspires you? And work from there. You can get inspiration from all sorts of things like song lyrics, other novels, movies, the things people around you say or do, or just random photos which tell stories. Find that thing which gives you an idea and use it for your next scene.

3. Remember why you started to write in the first place.

Writing isn't the easiest thing to do, so there must have been a reason why you decided to do it. Was it because you love it? Maybe you read a novel and you thought about how great it would be to write one yourself. Or maybe you wanted to challenge yourself, and prove to everyone around you that you can do it. Remember your reasons, your goals and hopes for why you started writing. Why stop now?

First of all, if you want to write, write. And second, don’t do it. It’s the loneliest, most depressing work you can do- Walker Percy.

4. Figure out the reason for your writer's block.

Is it because you can't find the words to write what you want?
Or is it because you don't know what to write?
This is specially the case in writing novels when the writer gets demotivated by the plot-holes which appear in the story line. This has happened to me a LOT. So I know how frustrating it is when all of a sudden your novel sounds like crap which isn't worth your time any more.

There can be many reasons you don't feel like writing. And it's not always because you're lazy or you don't feel creative. It can also be because you have no clue on how your story is going to progress. You have an amazing start and middle, but no clue what-so-ever on how it's going to end. That was the case for me, and it still is. But what I did was write an outline, plan out my novel over and over until all the scenes started to make sense.
(It's not easy, you might end up making a lot of changes, I'm still in the process of doing that!)

5. Write ANYTHING or write NOTHING.
Writing anything basically means you take out a piece of paper, and write whatever comes to mind. It doesn't even have to be about your novel. Just write, whatever it is. It could be 500 words of nonsense, but what matters is that you wrote something, instead of being stuck for days.

Write nothing- Just like you when you have insomnia, you shouldn't try and force sleep. So don’t try to force writing when you’re really stuck. It will always lead to frustration which will make you even more de-motivated. If you truly can’t get writing and you've tried everything- it may just not be your day. And that’s okay.
Take a break. Do other things. Then come back to your novel once you're ready.
It's better to stay away from your work than to spend too much time with it and hate it (this is also the case with people in general, no matter how much you love someone, you always need time away from them).

Hope you found these tips helpful!
And feel free to share ideas on this topic, I'd love to know what works for YOU :)
Here's an interesting article I found which talks about whether writer's block actually exists or we just use it as an excuse: Writers block: Excuse or real?

P.S. Only one exam left then I'm freeeee :D


  1. My exams are about to staaaaart. Gaah.

    Yeh post exams ke baad parhun ge. Kaam ki hai.

  2. Wow.. I love those writing rules.. May I copy it? I will put it in my Tumblr. :)

    Oh so true.. I agree, especially with #2,3 and 4. You've got to find that inspiration.. you've got to remember the reasons why you blog/write.. and the reason why you're having a writer's block.

    My reason usually.. I ran out of words. I'm not very good at English.. and yeah, I also have a Filipino blog, where I update most of the time. It's pretty easier to write using your own language.. But I love my English blog, and I wanna update it too.. but damn, sometimes, I can't find the right words to say/type.. :P

    Oh well.. I'm actually having one right now. Which is why I have the Guest Post series. haha! KIDDING, of course. :D

  3. haha woot
    this applies to me so much =P
    esp the plot holes
    oh the plot holes
    I know the outline of the story
    and the ending even
    i just don't know the "day to day" part =P

    and the poster. awesome poster.

    number 8 applies for me too. cz even tho i'm writing a chick lit (number 11.) after reading looking for alaska i feel like anything i write is shit =P

    i sometimes do number 9, but that notebook is for random stuff and also for ANOTHER novel =P
    and number 10. i wash dishes If i write abt it, wouldn't it be a diary? =P

  4. This was really cool! I mean I aint suffering from writer's block, but yes this is cool and I'm sure a lot of people can benefit from this..

    I always write about what inspires me! Thoughts, people, anything. And if I can't, I leave it there and come back later! :)

  5. Good luck on that last exam. I have more writing troubles with my book than with my blog, though sometimes I just can't force myself to write.

  6. These writing rules are fantastic!!! And I love the 12 1/2 list. All are so true, too!

    Sometimes, I think we *think* too hard about what to write that we literally eliminate every original thought we had floating around in there. lol At least that's how I feel sometimes. lol

    Yes! Only one exam!!! Whoo-hoo!!!

  7. ME: Aww, GOOD LUCK, and it's ok baad mein parh lena :D

    Leah: Haha sure! I found them on google anyways :)
    And I understand why it would be hard for you to write on your english blog, but you seem to be doing very well.
    LOL, now I know why yo're doing guest posts, hahaha its ok, we all need a break from blogging sometimes :P

    Twefrence: Haha, day to day parts :P
    Yupp, I loved the poster too. It seems to be more interesting than my post itself :P

    Confused Soul: Haha I hope so :) And I do that too, it really helps!

    Mark: Thanks! Mhm, that's why I wrote tip #5, if you can't force yourself to write, then don't do it, take a break.

    The Frisky Virgin: Glad you liked it :D
    Yesss, exactly! I feel that way too.

  8. ah! these were quite helpful. points 2 and 3 are really going to help my current situation. yay ♥
    and goooood luck for your exam!

  9. sooooo helpful! I started using write or die, even though i was terrified at first of what was going to happen!

  10. I am a current writer at a publication right now and this post helped me a lot. Thanks for sharing this one and I have a good time reading this post.

    Your new follower. Hope you could visit mine to.

  11. Wow, this is great :D Thanks for sharing this! I'm going to bookmark it :)

  12. Jeez. That write or die app is pretty crazy. I just tried it.
    I wonder what really helps in a Writer's block. I guess sitting around staring at people and voila finding some real inspiration. -.-
    4 was the sensible-est. I am bookmarking this too , just to revert back and come up with ingenious when I really need it. Thanks :)

  13. Furree Katt: Yay, glad you found them helpful and thanks a lot :D

    Juliet: hahaha, I think write or die is super helpful! and a little pressurising :D

    Albert Einstein: Good to hear that it's useful and you :)
    And thanks for following!

    Taha: Thanks

    Jodie-Anne: Aww yay ok :D

    Crystal: I know it is!
    Hahaha, glad you like it, you're welcome :D

    One Life.Many Moments: Aww, thanks :)

  14. Happily, I've managed to avoid writer's block. Knock wood!

    I'm not sure if awards are your thing, but I've given you one over at my place. Thanks for keeping things so groovy! :D

  15. My exams just ended :P
    Nicely written.