10 April 2012

unblock: 10 'rules' for overcoming 'writer's block'

Writer's block is the worst.

When you think you have nothing to say, or nothing more to say, or nothing worth saying ... When you worry you won't meet a deadline or meet expectations. When you wonder if you should be doing this at all--this writing thing, is it really for you? Maybe you made a mistake.

But don't let a stall in the writing process lead to a full-on identity crisis! Remember--as I was once told by a writer friend--"only writers get writer's block." You are who you think you are. And this, too, shall pass.

When it comes to overcoming writer's block, I try to keep ten things in mind. I share them with you so that you can keep them, too, and with them, move forward again.

Don't let writer's block take over!

10 Rules for Overcoming Writer's Block

1. < WRITE >
One word at a time. One word after another. The right word. The wrong word. Just put it down. Let it breathe. Bear many children and watch them grow and work together.

2. < IGNORE >
That voice inside your head telling you that you have nothing to say. Ignore it. Prove it wrong by saying something. Even if it's only writing: "I have something worth saying." Try this: Write the words, I have something worth saying, and it is ... Then finish the sentence. Even if the rest of the sentence is "and it is hiding from me," that's something. Follow that.

3. < THINK >
Of all the things you could be writing. Of all the things you want to write. Of all the things you wish you'd written. Think on it. Think on paper.

4. < PRETEND >
Imagine you're someone else. You are a great writer who is following up her or his last great piece with yet another great piece. A greater piece. You can't fail. You are already great.

5. < STOP >
Being afraid. It's only a pen and paper. Even a pen can bleed--you are mightier than your sword.

6. < FIX >
If nothing new is coming, work on something old. You know you can't put off editing and revision forever. You might as well start now.

7. < LAUGH >
Think of how easy it is to daydream, yet how hard it is to actually create. Think of the novel you know will never work. Think of the poem you know you cannot write. Laugh your way through the first terrible draft of it anyway. Think of it as an inside joke spilling out onto the page. Maybe someday--soon, or later--you will stop laughing and realize that what you have written isn't a joke at all ... it is genius.

8. < SPILL >
Stop thinking about what you want to say or what you should say or what you could say and just spill. Let words tumble and pour onto the page. Even if it doesn't make sense. Even if it makes sense, but the wrong kind.

9. < IDLE >
Tell yourself you cannot move until you write. Tell yourself you cannot move unless you write. You cannot answer the phone. You cannot watch TV. You cannot pee. You cannot spy on the neighbors. Fir five minutes. Or fifteen. Or an hour. Write or bust.

10. < REMEMBER >
Why you do this. What you want. Where you're going. Who you are. You are a writer. You are genius in the making. You love this. And you can do this. Now do it.


  1. Love this Khara! Thank you for writing!

    1. Thank you! Hopefully more "good writerly advice" will be coming--all in an attempt to "refocus" this blog back in the direction it was originally intended to go!

      Thanks for reading, and commenting :)


Thank you so much for your comments! Please feel free to share your thoughts here; I look forward to engaging in conversation with you!

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