Who hasn’t felt the sting of staring at a blank screen and not knowing where to begin? Who hasn’t written pages and pages only to feel like you can’t tap into the magic? Could you be blocked? "Writer’s block" is often a symptom of fear, is a fairly commonplace experience, and I’ve relied on a number of approaches to help a writer drive forward in their craft. Some are a bit more basic and widely discussed, while a few are more advanced. Let’s dive in to get you moving again.
#1 Prioritize Practice
#2 Begin with Journaling
#3 Open with Gratitude
If journaling is challenging for you, try starting with Gratitudes.
Nothing like beginning the day by focusing on what you’re thankful for.
Give yourself anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes to write out all the things you’re thankful for right now. From family and love to material items or opportunities, we all have things we’re grateful for, but often take for granted. Starting your day with Gratitudes is a brilliant way to get yourself moving with your writing while also setting up your day to live from a place of appreciation.
#4 Save Editing for Editing Time
Sometimes, when you are feeling stuck, it is easy to find yourself going over and over the same content. Moving a line here or there. Adding a semi-colon in place of a comma. Finding a better word that more closely fits. While it's important to review your work, and it is often improved in that practice, don't let yourself get stuck editing instead of writing.
Writing and editing are completely different functions, using different sides of your brain. So when you are writing, stay with it and push through it. And save your editor's hat to wear at a different time.
#5 Get to the Essence
At the heart of all these exercises (whether you’re writing nonfiction or fiction) is change. At the heart of change is both love and fear.
Fear is what is holding us back from change. Love is what compels us to change when the odds feel unbearable.
I urge you to dive back into these exercises. While doing so, find the heart of the love and fear that is being experienced. If love and fear do not resonate with you, consider pain and joy. We are all running from past pain to avoid it, while simultaneously trying to pursue joy. Push yourself to explore the pain and joy in each of the above scenarios. Fear and joy are what raise the stakes for each of us.
Whenever you’re not sure what to write about, return to the basics: journal and explore versions of these exercises to unlock ideas. Check our blog to read other writers' experiences.
As always, I hope these are valuable tools. If these are not working for you, consider that it might be helpful to hire a book writing coach. For more information on our Coaching for Book Writing, click the link below or get in touch with us.