W is for Writer's Block #AtoZChallenge

A Novelist's Nightmare

Written by Charlotte Parr

Don't you just hate that fuzzy feeling you get with writer's block? The feeling like you're scrambling around in your brain for ideas but your fingers touch nothing but soft fluffy nothingness. Me too. There are loads of ways people tell me how to get rid of writer's block. Some of them make sense; others are just stupid. Here are my ways for getting rid of writer's block. Try them and see if they work for you!

1) Write Through It

I think this is one of the hardest techniques I use, but I always give it a go before I try anything else. Sitting down and forcing yourself to write the chapter can be a painful and demoralising experience, especially when you read it back and think 'why on earth did I write that?' But I find it's one of the best ways of conquering writer's block and showing it who's boss. Even if you end up having to go back and re-write the section you've just written, it's worth it just to prove you can do it.

2) Try Writing Something Different

Been writing the same story for weeks and just can't think where to take it next? Try writing something new. Maybe revive an old story you never finished or do a bit of flash fiction, something to clear your mind of the story you've been writing for so long. When you come back to that chapter you've been struggling with, it should all feel a lot easier.

3) Try Writing By Hand

I find writing with pen and paper quite soothing, especially if you have a favourite pen that's really nice to write with. Or if you can use different colours. I also find it makes the words come easier, and it feels very satisfying when you've written four or five pages when it would only have been one and a half on a computer.

4) Take A Break

This can often be a very frustrating thing to do, especially if you really want to finish the section you're struggling with, but sometimes you just have to indulge yourself by getting up from your computer, making a cup of tea and watching some rubbish on TV. If you're tired then take a nap, even if it's in the middle of the day. Sleep can really help to clear your mind and give you more focus.

5) Change Of Scenery

If I've been cooped up in one room for too long, I start to go completely insane. Get outside if you can. If it's sunny sit on the grass and write in the sun; it's a much nicer environment than sitting in a stuffy room staring at a screen.

6) Talk To Someone

Writing is a solitary pastime, so picking up the phone and having a chat with a friend or going and finding someone else in the house to talk to is really nice. If they write too, tell them about the problem you're having; they might have an idea to help you solve it.

Did any of these techniques help you? Do you have any others that you think are better?

Charlotte Parr is an English and American Studies student and part-time online writer on the writing site Protagonize. She writes mainly young adult, fantasy fiction. She finished her first novel, An Imperfect Fairytale, during NaNoWriMo in 2010, a novel inspired by the Rapunzel fairytale. In between lectures she finds time to write the sequel to An Imperfect Fairytale, as well as writing the occasional review for The Masquerade Crew.

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