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5 Tips for Overcoming Writer's Block

Hello writers and friends. You've completed your regular writing and editing routine then realize that you have spent every fresh idea and creative sentence structure. Have you been there? I sure have and let me tell you, it can be both a frustrating and liberating process. Let's be honest, it's mainly discouraging. You write, read, rewrite and repeat on an endless cycle of painful creating until you finally give up and walk away. So what's the deal? Here are some things that may help you overcome that frustrating writer's block.

1. Eliminate distractions. Yes, distractions can cause overstimulation of your surroundings which can inhibit your ability to focus clearly.

Where do you write?

Do you have a dedicated space or does it change regularly?

If possible, try and clear out a small space that is just for your writing. If you have an extra room, wonderful. Make that your writing cave, chamber, or whatever catchy title you'd like. If you don't have an extra room, that's okay too. Maybe you have a small desk or table that can be used exclusively for your writing, even if it's in your closet or laundry room. You may have a small rug that you use.

My point is this: you need a visual space that is dedicated to the craft.

2. Research & Brainstorm. Some of the best writers are also fabulous researchers. They do their homework. So you have a wonderful plot idea or fantasy world that you want to start creating but you have no idea where to start. Okay, first decide what you like about the subject and then research what information is available.

How will your creation be unique?

Does it fill a gap or space that is not currently being discussed or occupied?

Does it help develop conversations that need to be had?

Are you trying to help readers that are searching for answers?

All of your questions and ideas should be notated. Yes, write them down. That way, if you have to go pick up kids from school or run an errand, you're not giving yourself more anxiety trying to keep all your thoughts inside your head. It's like a cheat sheet for a test you created. I know it sounds silly, but as an overthinker and anxious overachiever--it works.

3. Create an outline. Alright, you have all your ideas and research written down. Time to shed some weight. Look at what information you've collected. Think of it like you went to a candy store and just grabbed all of the candy from the shelf. Then, you went home and realized you're allergic to a specific ingredient in the candy. That unfortunate reality eliminates most of your options.

As you are examining your ideas and research, allow your imagination to take root. Explore possibilities and alternatives. You may see a plot line form. Now filter out anything that may bring confusion to a reader or simply does not make sense in your newly formed world. You don't have to delete it completely as it may develop later, but highlight the main ideas and details that you've gathered.

4. Create a character. That's right, just one. Pro tip: it does not have to be the main character.

What does the character look like?

Where does the character live?

What does the character do?

How old is the character?

What circumstances surround the character?

Now you may add tropes if you like. Keep it simple but solid enough to be developed later.

Imagine the character took you to their location right now.

Where would you be?

What is happening around you?

At this point you may have questions for the character.

What happened to them?

What are they doing?

Where are they going?

5. Begin writing. Establish the setting, relationships, and dialogue. Set the scene. Write out a few pages. This doesn't have to be your first chapter, it may not even be a part of your piece at all. That's not the goal. The goal is to stimulate your imagination. To take you to a place outside of yourself and when you're ready: you can truly begin crafting your piece.

Keep in mind, these are suggestions. Take what you like and leave what you don't. Happy writing!

Consider: Where is this newly created world leading me? Why would I want to go there?

Conversation: What are some tips that you've learned that can help overcome writer's block?

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