Destroy Writer's Block: Websites and Strategies

by Joshywashington Mar 25, 2010
Learn how to be a travel journalist — check out the curricula at MatadorU today.
    Writer’s block is often the result of specific patterns of behavior or habits that you can learn to recognize and change.

YOU STARE at the screen and it seems to stare right back. Writer’s block comes in various forms, from simple lack of inspiration, to the fear of committing words to a page.

When I am stuck, uninspired, or just plain tired of writing I fall back on a few different methods:

1. Freewrite

Write anything. No rules, no topics, no expectations…just words. Silly words, serious words, sad, sappy words. Write a love letter, a poem, a whimsical verse …just get your fingers flying. Start with scribbling on a page or recounting your day in a private blog. Once the words start lurching from your psyche then you’re halfway to destroying writer’s block.

2. Scheduled work-time

Writing is work. Sometimes it seems driven by creative engines from outside yourself. But more often it is just hard work. Scheduling time for your work to be done is an important step. Do you have time set aside for “just writing?”

Pencil in writing on your weekly calendar. Dedicate a certain time of day to your blog/novel/article and sit down to work no matter how much you don’t want to. Go one step further and join a writing group.

3. Reading

Nothing fires me up for my own writing more than reading. I believe that time spent reading is just as important than time spent writing. Let the ideas and characters of others seep into your mind and plant seeds that will sprout in your own writing endeavors.

4. Mixed media

Take photos, listen to music or ponder brush strokes at the local art gallery. Go see a play, a slam poetry contest or hip hop show. Sketch in your journal, rent a movie and scrap book. Surround yourself with art and life. Mix up your media and inspiration will find you.

Here are a few useful online resources I found that just may help you un-stick yourself.

CREATIVITY PORTAL: Topic starters, generators, picture prompts and creativity resources for the writer

SKRIBIT: Skribit is a tool for bloggers who want help coming up with post topics. From their website: “Skribit cures writer’s block by tapping your blog’s readership for post suggestions. Once you have received a few suggestions, your readers may also follow suggestions to make sure you know exactly what topics are popular with your readers…”

WRITE TO DONE: 31 Ways to Find Inspiration for Your Writing

CREATIVE WRITING PROMPTS: 346 quick and easy writing prompts.

THE STORY STARTER: 763,591,140 creative ideas and writer prompts. Click for endless (and at times absurd) story starters.

FICTION WRITING.COM: Top 10 Tips for Overcoming Writer’s Block

WRITING FIX: “Home of Interactive Writing Prompts”

WRITER’S DIGEST: 10+ pages of writing prompts and exercises.

And finally here are a few quotes on writer’s block:

“Just write. It’s not about sitting around waiting for the muse. The people who are really good labour over what they write.”

~ Amy Ray

“Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.”

~ Erich Fromm

“Inspiration does exist, but it must find you working.”

~ Pablo Picasso

“Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you. Figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.”

~ Barbara Kingsolver

*The MatadorU Travel Writing program will help you build the skills you need to become a travel writer.

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