Saturday, August 28, 2010

Project to Published: Helpful Tips about Getting Past Writers Block

Welcome to my new weekly meme "Project to Published" helping aspiring authors and all who share their love for writing!

Passing the Dreaded Writers Block

Writers block can happen to anyone at any stage of a project. No matter the project, suddenly the creativity stops flowing and you are left wondering what happened to all of those nights when your mind was running with so many ideas you could hardly fall sleep. Although the first step may sound silly, it is important to acknowledge that you have writers block because it is harder to get past if you are not honest with yourself.

Once you realize and admit that you are struggling, you are more likely to try to work past it and persevere instead of procrastinating and allowing the situation to get worse. I am as guilty as anyone in allowing procrastination to sneak in, but my defense remains my honesty when I’m hitting that block. Here are a few simple tricks that I’ve learned that really help.

- Remind yourself of what first inspired you (What gave you the idea? Was it a song, a picture? Is there anything that reminds you of that moment of inspiration or your story? Maybe you should keep it on hand. You never know it just might be really helpful.)
- If you have an outline for your novel, then don’t be afraid to skip ahead a little bit and try a different scene – you can always come back and fill in the blanks later. Just remember to take into consideration any changes that might occur during your story. For example, if your character gave someone a necklace they are wearing in the last scene, but you can’t decide how to write him or her giving it to the character and therefore skip ahead, the character with the necklace will need to be wearing it. (I will be doing a “Project to Published” post later on about outlining.)
- Start a journal! Writing everyday always helps. Think about exercising. Doesn’t it become easier over time to do that workout? The more you do something, the better you get and the more natural it becomes. It will also become easier for you to write on schedule.
- Flip to a random page in one of your favorite novels and read it (Make sure it is the same genre as what you are writing or you may change your style). Sometimes remembering how much you enjoyed reading something can help re-awaken the writer in you.
- Sleep matters! Although it may sound strange, sleep is key to concentration. A healthy, well-rested mind will be able to give you the level of creativity you desire during the day. It may even help your creativity at night through dreams.
- Keep it fun! You should be writing because you love it – anything you can do to remind you of that love can help! Don’t be afraid to sing at the top of your lungs, listen to loud music, watch your favorite show or dance randomly because you want to. Writing is work, but work can be fun!

Getting past writer’s block can be different for every person, but hopefully the above tips can help. The biggest mistake a person can make is not striving to get past it. As a published author, I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t keep trying and working to get past each and every blank page, seeing them as opportunities instead of dreading them. In many ways, being a professional author is like being an actor/actress – you have to be able to call upon your emotions or muse. Some professionals spend years working on these skills, but all of it begins with something inspirational. Find something that inspires you and let that inspiration help you along the way!

What is your inspiration?

Emma Michaels


  1. Reading a good series always inspires me. When I get pulled into a world, and fall in love with it and the characters, I get a yearning to write. I long to be like one of those authors, setting down my dreams on a page, creating worlds with my words, and taking readers on an exciting journey.

  2. I have a picture board as well as a couple of giant plot sheets that I stick 'snippets' all over with post its - easy to change and helps me create lotsa wacky ideas :) I also find similar themed movies/tv shows can help

  3. I've posted on this topic and here are some tips that I've used for writer's block.

    - Write through it - you edit the completed mss so many times that you will flush out the areas that are not completely flushed out.

    - Beta for someone - sometimes that rejuvenates you.

    - Join a critique group - another form of support and write through with motivation.

    Overall, stay engaged.

  4. Thanks so much for this post, just what I needed to get past the writers block I've been facing lately!

  5. Great tips! I jazz myself up on music for inspiration.

  6. Great ideas!

    I'm a revise as I go type, so sometimes when I'm having trouble moving forward it's because I've already derailed somewhere and I need to backtrack before moving forward. My gut knows it, but my mind hasn't caught up yet.

    So, for me at least, it's always best to figure out why I'm feeling stuck.

  7. thanks for the tips emma!

    do you ever keep a picture board or anything like this to help inspire you and help visualise your characters?

  8. Re: Hannah Mariska: Actually no but mostly because I don't read magazines, don't have a printer and normally just save images I like on my computer. Otherwise I probably would have one. Something I do want is a plot board. I always have these intricate plot outlines and never enough room. So I end up having tons of pieces of notebooks paper, my computer documents, etc. I am moving in about a month so it is definitely something I am hoping to look into.


  9. I'm one of those pesky writers who doesn't believe in writers block. If you take a walk and observe everything around you you'll see that the world is full of inspiration!

  10. I would say that The Man is my inspiration. He pushes me and encourages me every day and I'm eternally grateful.

    I will definitely bookmark this page for future reference! Thanks for the tips!