Wednesday, 5 August 2015

5 Tips for Overcoming Writer's Block

Writer's block can be a serious issue, especially for those of us who "live by the pen." I have a rather arbitrary definition of writer's block with which readers may or may not agree. Writer's block is not what happened to me during college the night before a term paper was due and I sat blankly staring at a computer screen having just come back from the college library with an armful of books and a few scholarly articles I had managed to copy as the librarian was locking up for the night. That was simply lack of planning. You cannot wait for inspiration to hit when the seeds of the idea have not even been sewn. After those hard lessons of college, I learned an ounce of prevention was worth about 8 hours of sleep. As a non-fiction writer, writer's block is also not what those major fiction authors must feel when the Amazonian-like rivers of their creative juices suddenly stop flowing two hundred pages into their latest novel. It probably feels like being struck blind or deaf. I really wouldn't know because I don't work on that grand a scale.
My craft consists of writing fact-intensive, repetitious pieces of non-fiction for a very small audience of jaded readers who probably read 30 or 40 similar works each day. The challenge is to make my work stand out and motivate the reader, and for me, writer's block is a blase feeling I get when I look at my subject matter, and I cannot imbue it with that special something that makes it come off the page and take on a life of its own. I cannot motivate the reader because I have no feel for the subject and I do not feel motivated, or I feel the opposite, negative feelings for the subject that I must work through to make it shine. That is the nature of writer's block for me, trying to write a respectable piece even though I have no feel for the subject or am completely uninspired by the subject.
When writer's block hits, these tricks of the trade help me through the rough spots, and let me produce work even when my Muses are not with me. I hope these suggestions can help you overcome your writer's block or at least help you to produce some writing despite the lack of inspiration.
1. Keep writing. Even though you may be critical of the words that may be flowing from your fingertips, it is better to still get your thoughts down on your piece and then edit it or rewrite it. Many successful writers work by the "rewriting" method and polish a piece after many rewrites. If you have one or two uninspired writing sessions, it should not matter if you are continually working on the piece. Moments of inspiration will probably hit frequently enough over time that an off day will not affect the quality of the final piece.

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