Friday Fun – Beating Writer’s Block

Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.

QUESTION: We recently asked you what questions you’d like answered in our Friday Fun post. Today, we’re answering the following reader question:

FriFunQuestion7

JME5670V2smCROPJamie Wallace: Hi, Laurel. Writer’s Block is something each of us battles at one time or another. I have days when I believe it’s a real thing and days where I know it’s all in my head. Either way, I’ve dealt with it enough over the years that I wrote a four-part series on the topic:

I will also offer up this post on the challenge of starting. I hope you find these posts helpful in understanding and overcoming your writer’s block. Good luck!

LL HeadshotLee Laughlin: Sit down in a place where you are comfortable and with the beverage of your choice, and your favorite writing implement and word collection device (pen & paper, lap top, crayon and paper napkin, whatever floats your boat).

Set a timer for 5 minutes. Ready. Set. Write. Even if it is 5 minutes of “This sucks, I have no idea what to say. Where are my words?” Write. Don’t judge. Write. When the timer goes off, you’re done. Unless of course you’re not, then by all means keep writing.  Slowly increase the time on the timer. Writing is like exercise, to be successful, you need to be consistent. Write when you don’t feel like it. Write when you think it is going to suck. Just write.

Lisa_2015Lisa J. Jackson: All of the above! But to add a little bit to the conversation, my favorite acronym for this particular ailment is: BICHOK. Butt-in-chair-hands-on-keyboard.

Open that blank document and just start typing. Or open that notepad and just start writing. As Lee mentioned, you may not have any idea what to say — type/write that! “I have no idea what to write about, my brain is mush, words just aren’t coming to me.” Write ANYTHING. It may come out as all gibberish. It doesn’t matter – you’re clearing the decks and the words WILL come if you persist at it. The 5-minute timer is a great way to get started.

And so what if what you have after 5 minutes looks like an alien language? You can pat yourself on the back for getting THOSE words out of your head to make room for the real words (your story words) that *are* moving to the front of the line and that *will* hit the page if you keep striving to reach them.

 

20 thoughts on “Friday Fun – Beating Writer’s Block

  1. BICHOK keeps me writing every day. It may not be good but every word leads to another — and eventually, I hope, to something worth reading. Thanks for the wonderful blog post.

  2. I have three methods. The FIRST is to sit at the desk or wherever and write sentences using vocabulary words with which I’m not overly familiar. There’s plenty of them! This is a version of the already mentioned BICHOK.

    The SECOND is to read. Get comfy and get a good book, that is to say, a book that you WANT to read. I’ve gawked at St. Augustine’s CONFESSIONS for awhile now, but I really don’t want to read it. I did read a John Dunning Bookman novel. Got me right back into writing.

    The THIRD is to move. MOVE! Get on your feet and do something. Yard work maybe, nothing ridiculous, just get out there and do a bit of work. In the shade will be fine. Walk the dog. (that’s what I do). Mow some grass. Plant a flower, pull some weeds. Sweep the porch…now sweeping is a VERY good exercise. It takes zero brain power, which means you can concentrate on your current writing project, and it works the muscles and there’s a rhythm to it. Sweeping is good.

    Good Writing to you!

    • I like sweeping, too, to clear away all the negative thoughts-I can’t write, this stinks, why do I even bother-but any kind of cleaning will do. At least on bad writing days, I have a clean house!

      • Well thanks a ton for following. Your blog is so well done. I need to get more into WordPress and gig my poor little blog up a bit. I’m gonna get to your Amazon stories very soon. And I was fascinated by your “Books Read” section. I read “The Bookman’s Tale” in February. It was one of those–I can’t put it down–experiences. But again, thanks. I’m putting together a blog based on the Writer’s Block response. I want to say more about that, and of course I hardly ever know what to blog about. Gaaaa. I look forward to reading your stories.

    • I agree with you Paul, inspiration and a bit of fresh air is quite important. I read ‘Window Boy’ by Andrea White and soon got a nice idea. Sometimes ideas some dropping at me together like meteor attack. I usually get a short walk and do some stretching for exercise. Happy Writing!

  3. Thank you this is particularly very helpful to me..
    I usually start all posts by telling my readers the genesis of how I started writing that specific blog..
    Thank you for telling me it’s okay to write that I can’t write, or I feel like my relationship with words is on the rocks..

  4. I like to read something in a completely different genre and style than I normally read. It fires my brain in a different direction, opens up my creativity, and inspires me to write.

    • Hey, interesting, I’ve done that on and off, more out of a sense of a need for novelty than anything, but you’re quite right, it does lead to new ideas … and to going back to writing with more inspiration

  5. I’ll go with Lee. Sit with a beverage and write. Sometimes you keep thinking ‘There’s nothing to write. My god what should I write?’. Don’t go in that way. Whatever comes to your mind write it down it will help somehow. Don’t stop, it would waste your time and even stop you from continuing. When you are done then only stop. I links Jamie gave were helpful. Thanks!

  6. Related to BICHOK, what works for me is just having a specific time to write. In high school my grades always improved during my Volleyball season because I didn’t have time to procrastinate. The same is true for writing – I know that hour (or less) block of time is sometimes the only time I have so I dive in and just go. Certainly not always good but I’ll get something in there and worry about editing later. Great advice all around – thank you!

  7. I consider myself more of a “disciple”, if you will, of Rosanne Bane. She wrote an entire book about it, “Around The Writer’s Block”, and regularly discusses about the topic on her blog (www.baneofyourresistance.com). You might be interested in checking it out. She has many useful tips and methods on beating writer’s block, which have been effective for me. My favorite has got to be the “memory dump” method. Being an introvert, sometimes my mind is just running too fast with too many thoughts that I have to do a “memory dump” or a “cleaning/washing” of my mind, a form of organizing my thoughts by just writing everything down. It’s nothing special, just write down what happened this week, what’s making me upset or feeling negative, etc. It helps relieve stress, which can cause writer’s block. After that, I’m ready to start writing.

    Another tip she shared was to engage in physical exercise or just simply move. I’ve tried this and found that this is very effective. I’ve taken to doing dance exercises before and it helps keep my mind fresh when I’m struggling with writer’s block.

    Last, just engage in creative activities and be inspired. I find that my inspiration keeps me motivated, even if I’m terrible at writing. It doesn’t have to be perfect – just sit down and write, as Lee said. my motto is to “write now, edit later”. doesn’t matter if it’s terrible or it sucks, just as long as I’ve written something. I can always change it later. (Believe me, I’ve done that several times this week).

    I hope this helps. 🙂

    Erin

  8. Thank you for writing! Helped a lot.
    I have a question somewhat related to writer’s block. When I start writing stories, I try to brainstorm a bit before I start just so I’m not completely blind. Do you have any tips or suggestions on how to defeat your pre-writer’s block and get your setting, character, and plot ideas down on paper?

    • Hi!

      May I offer a suggestion? My mentor gave me this tip, actually. It’s called the mind mapping method. It’s like creating a visual map to help organize your ideas after the brainstorming session to give you a general or basic guide for your story. You can search the method on Google. It will give you an idea how to do it. Others do a story outline to help them organize their ideas.

      Sounds like you’re a bit of a “plotter”, as some writers like to call fellow writers who like to plan out their stories in advance and organize everything so they can write efficiently. Some of them are very methodical in their writing process, where they do chapter outlines right down to character profiles to help them in the development of their story. It depends on the writer, but the methods I mentioned may help you defeat your pre-writer’s block and get everything down on paper.

      Hope this helps! 🙂

      Erin

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