I know it seems weird based on common advice, but staring at your screen, trying to force words to come, is rarely the way to break through writer’s block.
The best way to break through writer’s block is to stop writing.
I don’t mean that you should quit writing, although I guess technically, that does stop it. 😉
No, I mean you should take a step back.
I’d been writing all morning, but not my novel. Although I’d tried, but kept finding myself stuck.
So yesterday, when my wife, Galina, had an appointment in town, I decide to get a cup of coffee and sit outside to write.
Sometimes a change of scenery can help you break through writer’s block
Moving locations tends to help, but when I realized I’d already tried mixing things up at the house a few times, just to see if I could unblock my story. Nope.
So, at the last minute, I decided to leave my computer at home and bring a pen and some paper, instead.
I got coffee and just sat there without a laptop, tablet, book, or phone.
You know, like a crazy person.
I really really love writing outside the house, and the opportunity is rare these days. But I also really needed to think through a story problem instead of forcing myself to stare at a broken chapter for another hour.
With no temptations and no one to talk to (and one cup of mediocre coffee), I was finally able to figure out the problem.
When my wife finally joined me, she asked me what I’d been doing.
I nodded at the cup and the empty sheets of paper. “Writing.”
Writing is more than typing
She’s used to me, so she didn’t question it.
As many authors far more famous have said, anything that moves your story forward counts as writing,
Staring out a window, walking through the woods, meditating, or drinking a cup of coffee alone in a little cafe’s makeshift street-side patio during a pandemic.
It’s all writing.
As long as it helps you get more words on the page.
Coffee not required
Your change of location doesn’t have to be at a coffee house, cost money, or even take you out of the house for it to break through writer’s block.
It just has to be purposeful and different from the same old same old.
Break through writer’s block by…
- Changing locales – Your favorite place, a different place, or wandering.
- Eliminating distractions – Eliminate, avoid, or block them, at least for a time.
- Setting your intention – What do you want to solve, fix, or find with your time?
Normally I go for a walk, but that doesn’t always work,
Lately, I’ve been picking a place in the house, yard, or neighborhood park.
I put on my headphones with some white noise.
I often write down my goal for the session and hold the paper it in my hand as a way to stay focused.
It’s easy to get distracted, but much harder when you’re holding your goal in your hand.
Change things up
I’ve found that this is one of the best ways to get unstuck and break through writer’s block, but it’s also a great way to work through bigger parts of my story, too.
If changing things up isn’t helping, you might want to look at what outside influences could be influencing your writer’s block.
Stress and quality of sleep are just two common things that can keep you from writing all you want to write.
If you’re struggling, and want to break through writer’s block, give these tips a try.
Give it a shot and let me know how it works for you!
PS. I’d love to talk more about this and other things that can help you write more, better, and forever in my Indestructible Author Facebook Group. I’ve love for you to pop in and say hey!