How to Overcome Writer’s Block

Writer’s block is not fun to deal with, to say the least. I’ve been there many times – having a vague idea, or perhaps even no idea, about what you would like to write a story about and feeling completely lost as to how to get started. Or perhaps you’re in the middle of drafting a novel or short story and are not sure what happens next. Either way, the problem is the same – you have no idea what to write. Here are some tips for how to overcome writer’s block.

Image via Occidental College

One method you can use is to look at other stories for inspiration. Think about novels, fanfiction, television shows, and movies that you’ve consumed and greatly enjoyed. What is it that you enjoy about these stories? For example, maybe one of the reasons you enjoy Harry Potter is because of its inclusion of Quidditch as a sport. Perhaps identifying this aspect of the story that you like will then inspire you to write a story revolving around sports competitions. Take elements that you enjoy about different stories and see if you can use these ideas to create your own story. Similarly, you can read or watch a story you haven’t read or seen before and see if it gives you any ideas. Remember not to copy, and to instead put a unique spin on the elements of other stories that you borrow from. Every story borrows from other stories in some way, making this a great strategy for helping you to brainstorm ideas.

Sometimes the reason you have writer’s block is because you’re stuck on an idea that isn’t working. Maybe you don’t know how to keep a scene moving forward, but the reason the scene is hard to write is because there is no conflict in the scene to fuel it forward, and since this is what you planned to write in your outline, you’ve decided you’re going to keep the scene the way it is. However, your scene would be more effective if you added conflict. Doing so would give you plenty of ideas for what to write, since you would now need to introduce and resolve a conflict. This is an example of how you can make changes to your story that can give you more ideas and make the story easier to write. When you’re writing, nothing should be set in stone – always be willing to analyze your work for what isn’t working and make the necessary changes. Sometimes writer’s block is simply a sign that there’s a flaw in the storytelling, making you unsure about how to move forward.

Finally, my favorite way to get over writer’s block is to simply start writing and see how much you can write in a set amount of time. You don’t need to have everything figured out beforehand. Some of us are simply not planners who can figure out our entire story before writing it. Giving yourself a challenge to write as much as you can within a set time limit will keep you from overthinking the story and second-guessing yourself, allowing you to write more words. If you’re having trouble brainstorming, giving yourself a time limit in which you must write will unleash your creativity. You’ll be surprised at what you can come up with once you force yourself to be creative. However, maybe this method makes you worry that you’ll be rushing your ideas and that what you write won’t be high-quality. That can certainly happen if you go about this strategy the wrong way, but the key to successfully implementing this tactic is to simply write what you find interesting without overthinking. In this way, you’ll be aiming to write something that is of high quality without letting perfectionism get in the way. There is no need to make each word of every sentence perfect at this stage of the process, but at least make sure that what is happening in the scene is something that you are satisfied with. This method is sure to give you results.

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Those were some ideas for how to overcome writer’s block so that you can finally achieve your writing goals. Don’t let writer’s block hold you back. Take your creativity into your own hands!

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