Dealing with writer's block

Join any writer’s group and I promise there will be a discussion about what to do if you come up against writer’s block. The thought of getting writer’s block is almost as terrifying as the actual moment itself – unless you don’t believe in it. Yes, that’s right, there are authors out there that don’t believe in such a thing.

Last year I went on an amazing mini masterclass with Australian author, Fiona McIntosh, and she doesn’t believe in writer’s block. Go to any of her author’s talks or book launches and someone will ask her about it, and she just waves her hand in the air and says ‘No. Never had it!’ Isn’t that amazing? If you want to know more about her secret to banging out a book every year, I highly recommend her masterclasses (bonus: it’s in South Australia’s wine country!).

I suppose, though, that’s not very helpful if you truly do believe you’ve stumbled at the keyboard. Personally, I think I’ve had moments where the story wouldn’t unfold. I’ve sat at my desk and stared at the screen. I don’t know if it was writer’s block or just that I’m still learning a lot as a I go. I’ve worked for over a decade as a journalist and in corporate PR, so I think I’ve been stuck in very factual, formulated writing and I needed to find a way to let loose and be comfortable with creative writing.

I’ve spoken to other writers and done a little research for tips on overcoming writing paralysis. If you get stuck with your words maybe try these:

  • Read. Just pick up a book – a new one or an old favourite – and just read. I guarantee you’ll feel inspired again.
  • Turn to an expert. Over the summer holidays I took a break from writing and read about the craft from the experts like Stephen King, Jessica Brody, and Kate Grenville. Every expert had something valuable to share that clicked for me.
  • Write something else. Maybe take on a short, temporary challenge like entering a short story competition, writing a paragraph for your social media account or a longer blog post.
  • Step away from the desk. I don’t know where you normally write or work but a change of scene can dust off the cobwebs. Every now and then I like to take my laptop out. I’ll write from the beach, a hot spot desk, the library and yes, the old favourite café. I don’t do it for too long or too often because I love my home office and can find being out very distracting.
  • Just stop. If the words won’t come, stop forcing it. Take a break. Take a walk. Watch TV. Give yourself a break and let your mind relax.

I hope these tips work for you! Now, I need to find my discipline and get back to my manuscript.

J x