On my last post on the MRP blog, I talked about balancing our schedules. Since then, I would like to say that my balancing has drastically improved, and while it has improved to some degree, life has also got in the way. Doesn’t it always find a way to do that?
Now that we’ve talked about finding the time to write, what’s the next challenge for a writer after they finally get their schedules balanced?
Yep, you guessed it. You actually have to write.
Sounds funny, doesn’t it? But it’s true, and this task presents its own set of challenges. While you’ve gone to great lengths to block out your schedule to write, now comes the hard part. You actually have to get words on the screen. I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing more paralyzing for me than a blank page. I’m not sure what it is about it that sends me to a numb state of panic, but it does. I may have the best idea before I sit down, but as soon as my fingers touch the keyboard, it all goes out of my head. In my mind, I know that the words that I type do not have to be perfect. I know that they aren’t even permanent, but I still freeze up.
About a year ago, I posted on my blog, five ways to combat writer’s block. I wanted to share it with you all here because it’s all things that I’ve found to be a huge help, especially number five.
- CHANGE OF SCENERY. Get up and get moving. Yep. Leave the computer. Take a walk, play with your kiddos outside, wash your dishes, or change out of those yoga pants and fix your hair. Do something that changes your current state and gets your mind on something positive. The key here is doing something that won’t take up hours of your day, but around thirty minutes or less. That way you can get back to the computer and get that word count finished.
- DO SOMETHING ELSE THAT’S CREATIVE. Find a different creative outlet and have fun. I love to do anything crafty, and have lots of hobbies that I enjoy: crochet, string art, cake decorating, and I just got a wood burning kit for my birthday. Doing other creative things energizes me and gets my creative juices flowing.
- SET CLEAR, MANAGEABLE GOALS. The key here is to set goals that are clear and achievable. Be honest about your goals. If you haven’t been able to finish writing a novel, break it down into smaller goals that are reachable and that you can see yourself achieving. If you have a problem with follow through, set goals that you can build off of and keep going. Don’t sabotage yourself with goals that you don’t have any intention of reaching.
- READ/WATCH YOUR FAVORITE BOOK OR MOVIE. For me, reading a chapter or so from one of my favorite authors that inspire me or watching an all-time favorite movie inspires me to get back to my writing and completing my goals. The key here is to watch or read something that inspires you, and not to bring you down. That silly Nicholas Sparks movie is probably not the best choice here. Spoiler alert—something horrible and sad always happens.
- Never stop on an empty page: This fantastic tip was given to me at writing retreat by Diane Tyner Ashley & Virginia Vaughn, and it’s helped me so much. Blank pages taunt me, and I like to write whole chapters during my writing sessions. Well, as a result, I was getting writer’s block because I was stopping my session at the end of a chapter. So I took their suggestion, and now I go past that chapter and start the next one, even if it’s only a paragraph. Now that I’m not opening up to an empty page, I don’t have as much writer’s block.
What about you? Do you have a tip about beating writer’s block? Leave a comment and join in the discussion.
Erin R. Howard is a developmental editor, fantasy author of The Kalila Chronicles, and has earned a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing/English from Southern New Hampshire University.
When she’s not writing, Erin enjoys spending time with her family, fueling her craft addictions, and teaching writing workshops.
Erin is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the KenTen Writers Group. She resides in Western Kentucky with her husband and three children.
You can find Erin at www.erinrhoward.com