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Friday, September 30, 2005

How to overcome writer's block

All writers have experienced it at one time or another...the dreaded writer's block! What is it, you ask? Writer's block is that terrible menacing mental block that prevents you from writing! There you sit, at the desk, pencil in hand, tapping it against the desk top. You are unable to focus, unable to write. It has happened to the best of us, whether it's a letter, an essay, a book report or a book that we are trying to write. Or maybe you write one line, only to erase it or crumble the paper up and toss it into the trash. When writer's block gets a hold of you, you can fight back! The first thing you must figure out is why you are having writer's block and then decide what you can do to sneak around it!

Why can't I write?

Writer's block is caused by many different things. Here is a list of reasons that could be causing you to be unable to write.

> No interest in the topic. If you are so uninterested in the topic that you can't even write about it, why would anyone want to read it? Try changing the idea or the slant to something that you can become more interested in. If you are writing an essay for school and the topic was assigned by the teacher, ask if you can be assigned a new topic.

> Not having enough information on the topic. If you are trying to write about something that you know nothing (or very little) about, chances are you will have little success. Try to do some additional research or talk to others who are knowledgeable on the topic. The more you learn on the topic, the easier it will be for you to write about it.

> Tpo tired to concentrate. If you are like many freelance writers, you go to work at your day job, run your errands, cook dinner, take care of the pets, spouse and the kids and are so drained that you are too tired to write! Writing takes time and concentration. If you have too many responsibilities that are constantly interfering with your writing, get rid of all of them. Just kidding, of course you can't do that, but seriously, set aside a scheduled time that is only for writing. No interruptions, no phone calls.

> Your idea is under-developed. Sometimes writers get so excited about an idea that they want to start writing it at once. However, if you haven't thoroughly researched your idea, you may find that you aren't able to develop the idea as you had planned. This goes hand in hand with #2, Not having enough information on the topic. Do more research so that you are able to better develop the story.

What can I do to get around writer's block, or stop it altogether?

You may not be able to stop it altogether. From time to time, everyone experiences circumstances that preoccupy their minds or cause them to lose their focus and concentration. But, there are some things that you can do to dance around writer's block when it tries to grab a hold of you.

> Create an Outline! Remember back in high school when your English teacher would make you do those outlines? Those are great to use when you are going through writer's block. Instead of composing long sentences or ideas, jot down two or three major ideas. Label the major ideas Idea 1, Idea 2, and Idea 3. Place Idea 1 at the top of the page, Idea 2 in the center and Idea 3 toward the bottom. Now list two or three things that come to mind about each idea. Use these ideas to develop your sentences and paragraphs. This will help you determine a beginning, a middle and an end to your article.

> Write every day!

Writers need a schedule for writing. Just as a star athlete has to practice to stay adept at his craft, so must a writer. Try to write something everyday, even if it is journal writing or freewriting.

> Work on several articles simultaneously.

Sometimes, writers will get burned out while working on an article. If you find that you can't focus on the topic, try switching to another topic. Often it is helpful to put the idea aside for a while, when you come back to it, you may have a different perspective.

> Practice Freewriting

Freewriting is writing about whatever comes to mind. Anything at all. Start writing about your topic and continue to write ideas for five or ten minutes, or until you can't think of anything else to say about your topic.

If you can't think of anything to say about your topic, write about whatever is on your mind. If you are thinking that you forgot to take the trash out, then you can write that. Freewriting is sort of like talking to yourself, but doing it with ink. Just keep the ideas flowing, even if you can't think of anything to write about. Pick an object on your desk and write about it.

The worst thing you can do is to give into the writer's block. Finding out what your obstacles are and how to work around them will keep you writing. And when all else fails, you can always resort to writing a grocery list or honey-do list.

(Courtesy of

Posted by jebratt :: Friday, September 30, 2005 :: 1 comments

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