Success You Podcast
Ep 05: 6 Ways to Beat Writer's Block
Beating Writer’s Block
You’re listening to the Writer Insider, Episode 05. Welcome to the Writer Insider and I’m your host, Susan Kiley…This podcast is designed to uplift, inspire and add a little extra presence to your everyday.
Today, I am going to be sharing with you six of my biggest tips I use to beath the writer’s block. I will dive deep into these tips, what I learned from them and how you can use what I learned to move the needle forward in your writing too.
6 Ways to Beat The ‘Block’
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” – Mark Twain
Hey, hey! Welcome to today’s episode about Ways To Beat Writer’s Block. This episode is dedicated to all the writer’s who have hit the proverbial writer’s block, which you’ll quickly learn I do not necessarily believe in.
Eek! I know. But it’s true.
I’ve been in a ton of groups and courses and places where writer’s talk about: Writer’s Block. I think potentially it’s a legitimate thing. For myself, the block happens when I am internally censoring if I should or shouldn’t say what I want to say — and if what I say will matter.
But instead of getting into a huge debate about what I believe and think, let’s instead discuss this writer’s block issue that plagues many writers.
The dang blinking cursor on a stark white paper either real or on a computer screen. Nothing is more frustrating than not knowing what to say — either from yourself or your characters. I want to mention I’ve written in both fiction and non-fiction genres so I understand the self versus character dialogue.
Let’s dive into the six ways I’ve heard others rid themselves or at least push them through the dreaded writer’s block…or blinking cursor on a blank piece of paper.
1. FREE WRITE to End Writer’s Block
Type, write, speak…doesn’t matter as long as you’re writing. You can’t be a writer if you’re not writing. You can not get better if you don’t write. Do you think Michael Jordan became the best basketball player by hoping or wishing? Not even close! He practiced. He dribbled. He ran. He shot. And he repeated the process each and every day. The same with becoming an author. If you want to author a book, you must write. To get good at writing, you must write.
If you’ve never tried free writing I’d love for you to pause the podcast or stop reading and try it — give yourself 5 minutes of free writing. Free writing is similar to free speaking / feelings in a therapy group or session. You take a blank piece of paper (again real or via the computer screen), and I think using a pen or pencil is the best for this exercise, but you start jotting random words. If you don’t know what to write, start with the word SUCK.
Look at inspirational pictures for your story. If you’re writing a romance book, look at romantic or lovey pictures, poems, other books. If you’re writing a non-fiction book, what about that book you want to write makes you want to write it? For instance, I wrote a short book, Extraordinary Ways to Simplify Your Life, because too many people and too often people forget how to enjoy life. Coloring for example. I love to color! There is research on coloring and the good vibes it has on a persons overall health. I could go into an entire thing about coloring, but I won’t, not today. You’re welcome for that.
3. PICK A WORD
What about the word sucks? Why suck? What sucks? See what happens. The word transform into more than just suck. If the word is offensive, try looking at your LAMP or DESK. Keep going. One word or thought will lead to the next and so on. You no longer have writer’s block. The entire idea about FREE WRITING is you are tapping into the creative portion of your brain that allows you to write.
Did you know the brain is a delicate instrument filled with creative associations. Your associations (or memory) comes from your past experiences. If you say SUCK this could eventually illicit a negative memory (for a non-fiction writer) or if you say LAMP (a fiction character throws it) will have your character doing something based on your recollection of the word LAMP.
4. EXPLORE SHIFTING…
Shift. Take a break and write something else. I often have two or three stories I am writing at any given time because I write in multiple genres – when I start to lose my mojo on one of my books (either the characters aren’t behaving like I want them to or I have no inspiring words for my self-help books…I shift!). Let’s explore the shift for a moment.
Imagine sitting at your desk typing away and BAM! a new idea with a fabulous title pops into your mind and you quickly open a new blank page and start writing…Yup. That’s perfectly okay and you should give yourself permission to shift when shifting is necessary. Word of caution though. It is not okay to shift when you are procrastinating. Hey, I’m the queen of hoarding, procrastinating and do as I say, not as I do, so I totally get it. If you shift to get the new idea onto paper so you can later explore, great! If you shift to procrastinate, not so great.
5. Beat Writer’s Block without PERFECTION
Perfection doesn’t exist, stop trying to reach it. Yup…I am guilty on all counts. I am a perfectionist. I say one thing and do another. I tell others perfectionism doesn’t exist but then I find myself trying to find perfection in everything I do. I’ve found over the years when I am struggling with perfectionism if I step away from the book, task, or whatever it is for a time. When I was writing A Resilient Soul, I reached a point where the book was longer than any Stephen King book.
I knew that no one would read that many words and I knew I had to cut over fifty percent of the book (that became book 2: Never Lose Faith). However, the longer I stared and flipped through the pages, I couldn’t do it. Instead of cutting I added. I worked on the book for months…I stepped away from the book for months also.
When I finally returned to A Resilient Soul, I was able to see what I needed to do without losing the entire story I worked many months on. I took over fifty percent of A Resilient Soul and turned the words into a second book, Never Lose Faith. Just remember that perfectionism doesn’t exist. If you find yourself in the perfectionism cycle, walk away and do something else for a period of time. Return to the project in a day, a week or even months later when you no longer are stuck in perfectionism.
6. WRITE & SUCK
Write. You may suck. We all suck. Repeat. No great writer became great overnight. Even the best of the best writers write every day and continue to work on their craft. Think of James Patterson or Stephen King or J.K. Rowlings. Though these three amazing authors make millions they are not great…they are working at becoming great. They, like many authors, have a successful system of editors, ARC’s, betas, etc. to give the world their best book possible after they’ve written a draft.
A published book doesn’t become a published book overnight (generally speaking). When any author, even the best write their first drafts they are riddled with errors. The purpose of first drafts is to write, not critique or edit. Get used to sucking. Everyone sucks at writing during first (and at times second and third) drafts.
How to beat the elusive Writer’s Block…Practice writing. If you still need help and want to learn more, hit me up at email@example.com and let me know what you’re struggling with or how I can be of service to you.
If you’re interested, you can head over to the blog at www.susanrkiley.com and read the blog post, How to Beat Writer’s Block or google and you’ll find many related articles on the topic of Writer’s Block.
Thanks for listening (or reading). I hope you’ve found value in this episode.
Just remember… you’re just one word away…