August 11, 2015

More On Vanquishing Writer's Block

I know I've written a number of posts already on writer's block (1), but I just wrote an answer about how to get over that wall on Quora and, really, how can one not write more about one of writers' most dreaded enemies?

So here's the basic gist of what I had to say...

Here are the two chief causes for my getting writer's block, and a few methods for how I deal with it.

  1. I'm being lazy. Methods:
    1. Talk about my story with others, which forces me to reduce the story to its most important points, the ones I should focus on.
    2. Force myself to sit down and work. I find I'm a lot more productive when away from distractions, like the Internet, so I like to go to cafes instead.
    3. Read about topics that inspire you. I find I get loads of (what I believe to be) great ideas from reading Donald Maass's books on writing, such as Writing the Breakout Novel, and The Fire In Fiction. These two are very similar, but what I like about them is that they force me to think about my stories from different angles, and therefore spur my imagination even more.
  2. I really have lost the inspiration for my writing. Methods:
    1. Plot out my story beforehand, prevents me from going off tangents that end up killing the story.
    2. Go back to the last portion of your writing that still sparks your interest and energy, and start over from there.
    3. Have fun, forget your fears, just write!

Of course, there are as many answers out there as there are writers, if not more, but I've found these to help me out quite a bit and, perhaps, you'll find something that works for you in here too!

(1) Other blog posts:
Writers: Be As The Tortoise, Not The Hare
Polti's Perennial Plot Points
How To Keep Your Ass Anchored To The Seat And Get The Juices Flowin'
Filthy Lying Writers!
Collecting Ideas or the Art of Avoiding Writer's Block


  1. Well, I am definitely not a writer, but I love to write, and so writing block is not unfamiliar to me. Agreeing with all your points I want to describe the method that helps me with writing book reviews; I had suffered blocks before I adopted it.

    It is typically a four-day cycle:
    Day 1: Loose thoughts and phrases thrown on paper (often literally on paper)
    Day 2: Order the loose thoughts and phrases into logical and cohesive chain of thought
    Day 3: Write without paying any attention to grammar or style, but make sure that the overall structure is fine
    Day 4: Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite, with only local changes - grammar, language improvements, style, bells and whistles, etc.

    Somehow each day I seem to have approximately the same amount of work.

    (I removed the previous comment because I did not follow my method and there was an error in grammar :)

    1. Thanks for sharing your method!

      What's funny is that it's basically the format I use when writing my books, from conception to the final editing stages! I always thought that this very structured method I'd developed over my writing years worked because of how mathematically-inclined my brain is, and perhaps you've just proved me right? ;)