Seven Easy Steps to Knock Writer’s Block

Berlin Wall by ladycharlie alt._banish writer's block

banish writer's block

“Writing is a kind of energy that is a balancing act between our desire to communicate and the pressure to do so.”  Jane Bernard

Last week at the Muse online writer’s conference, I attended a chat given by Jane Bernard called Knock your Block Off, about what to do when you have writer’s block.  Here is a summary of what I learned.

  1. —set a time limit on how long you will sit and stare at the screen.
  2. —stop focusing on what is blocking you and be sure to use number one.
  3. —while you’re taking a break, instead of fighting with yourself to write, take a minute and be clear about what it is you’re trying to do
  4. —know what you want to do. Whatever is distracting you is not going to go away until you look it in the eye.
  5. —respect yourself. Writers are people who write. Recognize what your attitude is towards yourself. Don’t beat up on yourself
  6. —maintain a sense of humor. People write because experiencing creative passion is rewarding. I have never heard anyone say it is fun.
  7. —don’t fake it. Be real. There is always a momentum going on whether you are blocked or not. Your mind doesn’t stop thinking about your manuscript just because you do.

Writer’s block is a kind of fear. It is an expression. It’s letting yourself wonder if what you write will be good enough or what others will think instead of thinking about what you want to write.  When you get blocked it is because you have put your foot on the brakes. One reason the block feels so bad is because the writing energy is still inside you trying to get out. The idea is to allow the natural process to evolve. Trust your creative process.

Have you ever experienced writer’s block and what techniques have you found useful in banishing it?

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About ClaraBowmanJahn

Journal writer. Author of "Annie's Special Day" And coauthor of Edmund Pickle Chin, A Donkey Rescue Story." Proud mother and grandmother of wonderful kids. Wife of brilliant husband. Servant of two cats. Member of Pennwriters and SCBWI.
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13 Responses to Seven Easy Steps to Knock Writer’s Block

  1. suzicate says:

    Thank you, Clar. I needed to read this as I was sitting here procrstinating the start of what I NEED to be working on!


    • clarbojahn says:

      Procrastination is my biggest culprit, too.
      I find that to be a bigger problem than writer’s block.
      You seem so prolific to me that I didn’t know you “need” to do anything. 🙂


  2. Widdershins says:

    Writer’s block? … nope. Procrastinate? …yep.


  3. Amie Kaufman says:

    Great tips! When I get blocked, it usually means I’ve taken a wrong turn somewhere, so I begin by backtracking to the last place I knew for sure things were going well, then try again. (That, or I take a chocolate break.)


  4. Clar,
    Taking a walk outside in the fresh air often times clears my head and gets those creative juices flowing for me. I find inspiration comes in cycles and I try to take advantage of those times- which can be in the middle of the night sometimes. If I’m really blocked,sometimes free writing in my journal helps. Writers Block is just one of those obstacles we all have to learn to deal with. Actually I like the chocolate break idea !Thanks for a thought-provoking and informative post!


    • clarbojahn says:

      You’re welcome, Kathy. I love it when a post clicks for my readers.
      Free writing works for me, too. I am a fan of Julia Cameron and her recommendation of writing three hand written pages first thing in the morning about whatever is on your mind. Somehow getting all the worries out in the open and on paper sets the stage for creativity. I have gotten away from it somewhat but when I did it religiously, I had no problem with writer’s block.


  5. Julie says:

    Writer’s block is 100% fear for me. I especially like strategy #1.


  6. clarbojahn says:

    Yes, and that way you set a limit on how long you will suffer. Like if the dentist says it’s almost over you can take it awhile longer.
    Fear is a real bummer when our fantasies start up. We need to learn how to silence those inner critics. 🙂


  7. pattyabr says:

    I agree that we all try to hard when we get stuck. I was stuck in other aspects of my life recently. I kept wishing that things were different and tried to force some things to go my way. Well it didn’t so I decided to turn inward and work on my spirituality and caring for myself. I am still working on it. I figure if I work on myself then the difficult things will be a little easier to fall in place. I think your points on writers block are true for any aspect of your life that isn’t going your way. Thanks for a thoughtful post.


  8. clarbojahn says:

    You’re welcome, Patty. I didn’t think it did but after reading it again and thinking about the times I have been stuck in my life, it’s true. Most of these points can be used for that.
    Thanks for giving me another perspective on it. 🙂


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