Writer’s Block: How To Get Rid Of It Permanently

“Writer’s block” represents one of the scariest things you can run into when trying to write anything! The effects can range from a 5-minute brain “fart” inconvenience to a multi-day (or month) grind that leaves you wondering why you ever thought you could write in the first place.

I’ve learned a few things about writer’s block over the years as a professional writer and syndicated national newspaper columnist. The biggest thing I’ve learned is that the more you focus on the “block” in writer’s block, the bigger it gets. If you focus on the “writer” part of the equation, you can blast through it relatively quickly. Here are 4 specific tips to help you with even the severest cases of writer’s block.

Tip #1 – Rest, Caffeine, and Nutrition

In college my fraternity brothers and I would stay up the entire night before a due date writing papers while jacked up on coffee eating potato chips. Why? Because we’d been out partying the entire month before and didn’t want to get thrown out of school, which would seriously curtail our partying. This resulted in papers that got done, though not necessarily done very well.

Whether you realize it or not, writer’s block is actually a feeling inside your mind and body. Your brain gets signals from your body that say things like “I’m too stressed to think of anything to write about.” Or “I’m too tired to think of anything to write.” One of the major causes of writer’s block is physical. If you’re tired, jacked up on too much coffee, or have just pounded a pile of sugar or carbs, chances are you’re NOT physically ready to write.

If the cause of your writer’s block falls into the physical category, try these solutions:

  • Take a nap for 30 minutes to recharge.
  • Drink caffeine in moderation.
  • Eat a piece of fruit.

Tip #2 – Purpose & Motivation

Often writer’s block will attack when you either don’t understand your purpose in writing OR grasp your target audience’s motivation to read it. Your brain (subconsciously or otherwise) says “What’s the point?” or “Who gives a darn about it anyway?” and BAM, you get stuck with writer’s block. You then get frustrated, which makes the block worse, and it quickly spirals into oblivion. Happy day – NOT!

So, what to do? Get VERY clear on WHY you’re writing what you’re writing. What’s your motivation in creating it? Job-related? Make money? Self-expression? What’s the payoff for you in the end?

Next, get very clear on WHY your target audience will want to read what you’re writing. What’s their motivation? To solve a problem? To reach a desire or goal?

Sometimes I’ll take out a piece of paper and draw a map, literally, of how I’ll lead my readers from where they are now to where they want to go. I put them in the upper left (along with myself as the leader) and then draw the destination in the lower right. I then sketch out all the steps, obstacles, and resources they’ll need get where I’m leading them.

Tip #3 – Writing Prompts

We can all answer questions, can’t we? Of course we can. We do it all the time, don’t we? Did you just answer that question in your mind? How about that one? Questions and answers are the most basic form of communication. Look at some of the most popular talk shows, the news, and sports programming. At their core they all use a simple formula: ask and answer questions.

One of the fastest ways to overcome writer’s block is to simply convert all the points you want to cover into questions you answer with your writing. This technique works for both fiction and nonfiction writing.

Fiction: What happens to your character next? How does he feel about it? What does he say? How does he react emotionally? How do other characters treat him as a result?

Nonfiction: Why is this topic important? Who should be most concerned with it? What actions should people take as a result?

Using writing prompts can instantly transform writer’s block into writing flow just by asking a series of simple questions.

In Chapter 1 of my book, “Book Writing Mistakes,” I talk at length about the topic of writing prompts and how to use them to defeat writer’s block forever. Hell, you can read practically the whole chapter for free in the Kindle preview here on Amazon. => http://amzn.to/1tqlGlC 

Tip #4 – Turn the Lights On!

When I was a kid we went on a 3-week trip to Europe. My parents worried someone would break into the house so they put timers on lights all over the house. At different times of day lights would turn on and off to simulate someone staying in the house. I got fascinated with the idea of it because, in my mind, whether the timers turned on the lights or my hand did it, the lights came on and the burglars got fooled! Mission accomplished.

When I asked my trainer what to do if I knew I needed to work out, but didn’t feel like doing it. He told me to go stretch for 5 minutes and then go for a 1-minute run. 99% of the time this does the trick and I end up doing the full workout. Why? Because I’ve done something small that built momentum, which makes it’s easier just to keep going at that point.

How does this apply to writer’s block? Simple. Start writing until you start saying something.

Moving your hands on the keyboard turns the lights on even if “nobody’s home!” Moving your pen across the page is like the stretching that leads to exercising. Answer some questions. Make a list of points to cover. Edit an old article. Get the motor running and the car starts moving.

Whether you’re tired, don’t know what to write about, can’t get past asking “what’s the point,” or just don’t feel like writing at all; you now have 4 specific ways to get past writer’s block and move on with your writing and your life. Writer’s block is now a thing of the past for you. Congratulations!

By the way, if you’re looking to get on the fast track as a successful writer and author, be sure to check out “The 7 Day Ebook Ver. 2.0” It’s considered the “secret weapon” for many of today’s TOP writers and authors. Check it out here => http://www.7dayebook.com

5 Comments

  • Virginia

    Reply Reply November 3, 2014

    As always, Jim provides specific, reasonable, easy-to-implement tips.
    Sometimes I will simply do something totally different to break the pattern of being stuck. That includes reading a book, listening to music, taking a walk, writing something different, checking out e-mails, calling somebody, sending a thank you card, etc.

    • BigJim

      Reply Reply November 3, 2014

      Virginia,

      Great thoughts! Total distraction and release… I like it 🙂

      Jim

  • Baraka

    Reply Reply November 3, 2014

    I like the mapping idea ! i will try that.

    • BigJim

      Reply Reply November 3, 2014

      It really works 🙂

      Jim

  • Brenda Smith

    Reply Reply April 11, 2016

    What a wonderful topic of discussion because this surely is something most bloggers go through – writers block 🙂

    I liked the ways you shared here, and while I do follow most of them when I get blank sometimes, I really believe that if you enjoy blogging and it becomes your passion with time, you have less of these blocks. I guess those who put up daily posts or every alternate days might be facing this problem.

    The key according to me lies in the fact that you should write when you are focused in your work. I don’t think your mind would turn blank then, or you wouldn’t know what to write. But I guess it differs from person to person too.

    Speaking of myself, I guess being a professional freelance writer and blogger – my work is to write! And I write a lot, whether it’s my blog posts, project work, or even replying to the comments on my blog (which are mini posts in themselves!) – all of that is writing. I never really get into such blocks, or perhaps my mind is always floating around with creative ideas that are just waiting to be penned down. However, when these is work pressure and pending projects etc., and when there’s stress all around – I do experience writers block, though it’s rare.

    Thanks for sharing these ways with us.

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