Block Writer’s Block

stonewallWhat happens when you sit down to write and your mind just isn’t forming sentences–or even words? Do you stare at the empty page, watching the cursor blink relentlessly–mocking your inability to put words to page? Do you walk away? Do something else? Wait for inspiration to arrive?

I used to do these things until a few years ago when I took an amazing year-long course for writers. Each week I had an assignment to finish and I couldn’t skip the ones I didn’t like. Having the assignment and deadline each week forced me to get over the blank page and just start writing. Sometimes I didn’t know how I would start or where the assignment would take me (and sometimes the assignment took me way out of my comfort zone), but each week I would have to write something; I couldn’t just walk away and wait for my inspiration so I developed two great tricks that help banish writer’s block from my creative process.

1. Start in the Middle or at the End
Whenever I had trouble with an assignment I started writing in the middle or at the end (literally)–anywhere but at the beginning.  I would scroll down the to middle of the page and just jump in. Sometimes I would start with an outline and begin with my second or third point. The deadline aspect of the class was also a motivating factor! If you aren’t taking a class you can  join a critiquegroup as way to impose a deadline on yourself.

2. Write a Letter
Sometimes the blank page overwhelms me–even if I have a deadline. When this happens, I’ll start a letter to someone explaining what I’m trying to write and why it is a challenge; this usually leads me to figure out the crux of my problem, thereby solving my lack of creativity. I think writing to a friend or relative helps take the pressure off because I’m writing in a different voice–it mixes things up just enough to help me realize I can overcome my writer’s block.

These are just two quick ideas. I’d love to hear how you get through a creative bondry spell and get back to writing. Please take a minute to share by posting a comment below. Thanks!