top of page

Knocking Writer’s Block Off!

Hello there folks, thank you for checking out my page. So a friend of mine asked me for advice on writer’s block. Since my advice was well received, I’ve decided to share it with the world. Quick disclaimer, these are merely strategies which I find work for me personally. But, different people work in different ways. I would be interested to hear people’s feedback though.

1. Taking a Break

This can be one of the most frustrating things to do when you want to get through to the next stage of your work. However, from personal experience I have found that taking a break and just “letting life happen” can be exactly what is need to give my work a fresh perspective. Taking a break has afforded me time to think of what I wanted my character/characters to be doing in the later parts of my story. At times this has led to further frustration and thoughts of “ok here’s what I want my character to be doing further down the line, but, how do I get them there?” This is where I find taking time away from said project can really help. While life is happening, my mind is constantly processing new thoughts, experiences and information. Even if a new idea comes up for something further on in the story, any spark of inspiration should still be cherished. Time scale of breaks - Short break of 1-24 hours: I find can be refreshing for structuring work and rewriting sentences. - Medium break 7 days to a month: has allowed me to look at the bigger picture of what I am writing (and see past what I am stuck on). - Long break several months to a year: In this time I have usually generated several different stories (some of which can be cross-referenced to develop new ideas for the story I’m stuck on).

2. A Change is as good as a rest.

My mum always used to say this to me… and like most things she’s told me, I’ve found it to be true. To follow on from the first point about cherishing inspiration, I’ve often found that writing something new can help. If you find yourself struggling to write something because you become distracted with other projects, it can be helpful just to start writing them. I first discovered this after my first attempt at writing a novel about 10 years ago. *Spoiler alert, it’s still unfinished and it’s been in hiatus for about 7 years (I doubt it will ever be completed or published either). Aside from my lack of writing experience (and grammar) at the time; I found one of the most challenging things was to continually write for the same character. Once I started getting into writing short stories/ novelettes I found it was a lot easier to get from one point to another. One of my main methods of doing this is to switch between characters when I’m running out of things to say about the current character.

This leads me to my next suggestion for getting through the block... -Introduce another character or at least start to think of what another character is doing in the story. In short, I’ve personally felt that writing for another character has rejuvenated my creative juices, while enabling me to keep writing (which is useful if you want to keep writing and don’t want to take a break). One of my favourite aspects of writing in the Sea-Side City of Rockshore (featured in Sea-Side City: The Tides of Change Compilation -shameless plug but feel free to check it out) is that everyone lives in the same city. Therefore, the events that occur in one story can be related in another. This concept has revitalised my momentum on countless occasions. In addition to considering the new character’s perspective I also write entirely different stories at the same time. Again, where they are all connected in the same city and universe as it were, it’s trained my mind to zoom in and out from each individual story to the bigger picture and overall timeline.

3. Always mind your surroundings

(I thought of Batman Begins too)

Similarly to the previous point about thinking of other characters, focusing on the environment you are trying to create is important. Sometimes it can be just enough for you to regain momentum too. I’ve found focus on the environment and setting the scene helpful in generating "filler" or some sort of inspiration to forward the story. Additionally, it can be an effective way of foreshadowing for future events. If the current scene (or lack thereof) has got you stumped or bored, I find it helpful to consider ways of weaving in connections to later scenes. For example if you’ve got a scene where there’s a conversation that’s going nowhere and you’re stuck with what to write. Perhaps this could be an opportunity to describe how the environment is affecting the characters at that moment. Or it could be an opening to talk about a trivial event which could lead to major change further in the story. I’ve found from personal experience that this has trained my mind to look for opportunities to shoehorn in new angles.

In Closing…Hindsight is a wonderful thing

Taking into consideration my previous points, about new characters and events, you have the freedom to change whatever you want. Writers block can be a daunting thing and a lot of the

time I feel it can be caused from a pressure to write quality content. The good news is, you can always go back to it and review it with fresh eyes. I consider the novel I attempted to write 10 years ago a good case study for this. At the time, finishing it and turning it into a success was important to me. However, looking back at it now, I see things differently. Although I “gave up” on it, the project served as one of my greatest learning experiences and it has helped me to develop. Furthermore, I have looked back on the project from time to time and found ways of incorporating some of the concepts and characters into my newer works. With this in mind, I use this experience to alleviate the pressures of feeling that my writing “isn’t good enough” in periods of writer’s block. The important thing, in my opinion, is gaining the confidence to get over the initial period of feeling blocked; whether it’s taking a break or approaching it with a new perspective. One of the most important aspects of overcoming writer’s block is to alleviate the pressure and to have fun with it.

13 views0 comments


Buy now
Tides of Change Upgrade 2021.jpg
  • Sea-Side City on Amazon
Recoloured lir.jpg
NDP Logo (3).png
  • S.A. Ballantyne NDP
  • S.A. Ballantyne NDP
  • S.A. Ballantyne NDP
bottom of page