Author in the Trenches: Writer’s Block or Is It Writer’s Blah?

17 May

If you’re like most writers, you’ve had writer’s block, where you sit and stare at the computer wondering what on earth you are going to write about. Whether you simply don’t have any ideas or you just have the ‘blahs’ doesn’t really matter. There’s no work output going on. The page still remains blank and you still remain frustrated.

What to do?

Well, actually there are a variety of things you can do.

1. Brainstorm. Dream. Relax and let your mind wander for a while. Have fun with your writing! Sometimes, the best way to get out of a writer’s funk is to just play for a bit. You don’t even have to do it on a computer. You can do it with a notebook and pencil. Or, sometimes, it’s good to just lean back and think for a while. The ideas generated here could be used on what you’re currently writing or for future projects. That’s okay. In fact, that’s more than okay! The more you brainstorm, the more potential for more future books. Some of the ideas you come up with could be used as future scenes in the existing book or could even introduce a whole new twist to your tale. At the very least, it should put fire into your work and a smile on your face.

2. Another thing I like to do is spend time reading books on ‘how to be a better writer’. There are plenty of amazing books to be found in the library or online that can give great ideas. Some are genre specific and others are more general. As professional writers and authors, we should always be looking to improve our craft. Taking the time to read up on how to write better is time well spent. I have often found ideas which sparked my own imagination.

3. Change location. Go outside, smell the flowers, feel the breeze. Fresh air can be so invigorating. If you have a laptop, take it outside and sit in the shade and write. A change of scenery can often help boot the blahs.

4. Set reasonable goals for yourself and meet them. If 1000 words a day is too much, go down to 500. That’s okay. Don’t punish yourself. Just be sure your expectations are based in the reality of your life. For me, I’ve got two part-time jobs, several ministries I volunteer for, a husband, five kids (whom I home school), and a house to keep in somewhat reasonable order. That doesn’t include cooking, laundry, mowing, blog posts, FaceBook, and two books I’m working on (one fiction, one non-fiction).  I can’t expect myself to be able to ‘do it all’ and that’s okay. However, if I’ve set reasonable goals for myself, it feels awesome to check that box off! 🙂

5. Pray and Seek the Lord. We weren’t created to ‘go it alone’, though some of us try. Sometimes, when I’m sitting in front of a blank screen or staring at a computer from across the room staring back at me, I pray and ask for the ‘want to’. I ask for direction and ideas. Every time I ask for help, God is there to help me. In fact, it’s better to live life actually walking with Jesus constantly, keeping those communication lines open and realizing He is always there. Of course I can bounce ideas off of Him. He is the ultimate Author and Marketer. Of course, He might have some helpful suggestions. I need only ask. You need only ask. He is more than willing to help me and you because He loves you!

6. If you write fiction, take the time to read other books in your particular genre, mystery, thriller, romance, etc. Sometimes, you can get an idea from another author that will work for you. I’m not talking about plagiarizing, but rather seeing what other writers are doing right. Don’t just read for fun. Take the time to think about what you’re reading and how the author put it all together. Think about flow, characterization, dialog, plot, scene development, etc. How does the author begin a chapter or scene? What is his/her hook? How does the author end a chapter or scene? How does the author keep things going and make you want to read more? Other authors are not the competition, they are just fellow authors who love writing just as much as we do. I certainly like to read more than one author. I’ll certainly buy books by more than one author. I can most definitely learn from other authors!

7. Just Do It! Write. Sometimes, the best way to get over writer’s block is to simply start writing. If you end up deleting it, that’s okay. Simply getting started writing can often lead to more and better writing. Besides, when you are doing what you love, what you are meant to do, it feels good. Keep writing. Don’t give up. It’s a guarantee you won’t get any writing done if you don’t actually write. So, just do it! 😀

1 Comment

Posted by on May 17, 2011 in Author in the Trenches


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One response to “Author in the Trenches: Writer’s Block or Is It Writer’s Blah?

  1. nwatrud

    June 1, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    I’m enjoying your blog on “Author in the Trenches” (Sherlock Holmes really got my attention!) 🙂
    Oh, yes…”Writers Blah”…I recognized it immediately.
    Thanks for writing!


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