How to Deal with Writer’s Block by DG Kaye

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A common problem many writers encounter is the dreaded writer’s block. It can hit us smack in the middle of our writing. We’re happily writing along until, boom! The creative well runs dry.

Because our craft is guided by mental focus and inspiration, it’s not difficult to imagine that sometimes we might get shut out from our creative energies. When life issues get in the way, I know I’ve certainly fallen victim to this freeze out of creativity while life is testing me with unforeseen circumstances that can take the wind right out of my writing sails.

When we implement self-imposed deadlines for our work, the mental pressure we put upon ourselves to accomplish our goals often have us scrambling to force our creative abilities.

Many writers have found their secret formulas for helping to get the creative juices, or their muses and mojos flowing, but many others struggle when the well of creativity begins to evaporate. So, what’s a writer to do?

Don’t change course by slacking off completely. Keep your imaginations open. There are many things we can do to re-ignite our creativity, often when we least expect it.

Read
Get newly inspired by reading a book or an interesting article or blog post. If you’ve allotted this time for writing, do something else to keep your mind in the creative realm. You will be surprised to find the ideas that float into mind while our concentrating efforts are focused on something else.

Write

Yes, you may get stumped on your current WIP, but working on another writing project will often summon up some new ideas for exactly the project you’re taking a breather from. If you don’t have another project to work on, use writing prompts to get the juices flowing again. Writing of any sort is a stimulant to our creative centers. Often, writing about a completely different topic will spark an idea for something else we’re working on.

Walk Away

You heard me correctly. When our heads are crammed with worry, doubts or blanks, forcing ourselves to remain at our keyboards staring into space looking for words to further our stories, it becomes an indicator that a timeout is warranted. Walking away doesn’t mean we don’t have to be thinking about our WIP; we’re merely changing the scenery and focusing on something else. If our WIP remains on the back burner in our minds while busying ourselves with a different task, something is going to give and eventually the flow of ideas will come back when we alleviate the pressure off ourselves.

Go Outside
Taking a walk while taking in the sights of people and nature surrounding us is a good way to calm the mind, which inadvertently allows creativity to brew again. Driving has the same effect for me, especially if I’m listening to music. Just be prepared to make notes about your new ideas or they may disappear into the ethers as quickly as they’ve sprung up.

Be prepared for those glorious moments when inspiration returns. Have journals or notebooks handy to write down those precious newly inspired ideas because if you’re anything like me, they’ll be forever gone if we don’t write them down. Nothing to write with? Keep your mobile phones handy. With the various apps available, such as Voice Note, you can record your ideas, so they are there when you’re ready to go back to your stalled WIP. Heck, I’ve even whipped out a lipstick and wrote on a napkin a few times while out at a restaurant. Whatever works!

I like to think of the blank out moments while writing as merely a delay rather than a block. Where there is a will to write, sometimes a diversion is all it takes to bring us back to inspiration.


Debbie GilesDebby Gies is a Canadian memoir/nonfiction writer who writes under the pen name D.G. Kaye. She writes about real life experiences and matters of the heart sharing life lessons in hopes to empower others.

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59 thoughts on “How to Deal with Writer’s Block by DG Kaye”

  1. Great advice. Walking, exercising, or going for a walk have always worked for me, especially when I got stuck on some plot point. Thanks, Debby and Wendy.

  2. Some great suggestions. I often take my dog for a walk when I get stuck. It gets me outside, doing something else and often meeting other folks. I get inspired by other people. So its a win-win as my dog is happy too. xo

  3. Excellent tips Deb, I have tried all of them and what helps the most is a walk by my favorite creek, with the sound of birds that hide in the trees. Usually I come home with a new poem or a new idea of Haiku.

  4. Wow! Fantastic pieces of advice that follow my writing philosophy. This can all be boiled down to one simple piece of advice: Don’t force it! Let it come naturally. Often I get ideas from going outside and often I have to work on numerous stories at a time. But it all works in the end.

  5. Thanks, Debby, for all these great tips. I agree that taking a break to go for a walk is one of the best ways to clear your head, relieve stress and get some fresh inspiration. Toni x

  6. Saw this on your blog and popped over here, Debby. As someone who gets writer’s block all the time, this post resonated with me. Self-imposed deadlines always made me feel pressured to write well and I’d feel short of myself when I feel I’m not going along well. I have found taking a break helps. Like how you go for a drive, I like to go for a hike to try and to clear my headspace. Sometimes I even take extended breaks when I really am in a rut and just can’t get going. A good excuse for a vacation or just lazing around 🙂

      1. Sometimes we need to let go and if it’s meant to be (or better), it will come back to us. Always a fan of your writing and thought process, Debby ❤ (p/s…it finally occured your name is spelt Debby and not Debbie…pardon me)

  7. Yup, been there and done that! I’ve used all those tips too and shared them myself. 🙂 I have read some very interesting stories of a guy walking down a beach finding those glass baubles worn by the sea and being inspired by them. Music worked for me back in the cubicle farm before retiring; probably would be a good tack to take at home in front of the desktop. Exercise is supposed to get the blood and oxygen flowing, improving energy and concentration so you’ve hit the right notes in this item. One addition–think of inertia, a body at rest tends to stay at rest and when in motion tends to stay in motion (absent friction, resistance, etc.). So get the fingers moving on SOMETHING and inertia will work for you! 🙂

  8. All these tips are helpful. Often usable ideas come to me unbidden when I’m driving, taking a walk, or showering. Recently, I found my memoir title by looking through old notes. A bell chimed in my head, I changed 1-2 words and voila, the title emerged.

  9. Great advice Deb. I find it especially difficult when I’m derailed by life and lose my momentum; it’s harder each time to find my way through that dreaded block. Especially now, working on difficult scenes. But I’m learning not to fight it. Instead, I’ve come to see how valuable processing time is, and how much comes to me at those times. So often that’s when I get the very word I was looking for, or remember something often quite small and simple but important and had left out. Walking while listening to music is my go-to at such times, but I write in silence. Thank you, my friend, for your all-important encouragement that we don’t have to panic when assailed by writer’s block! 🙂 ❤ xoxo

    1. Thank you Sher for adding to the conversation. No surprise you and I have the same methods, lol. Tranquility and music always seems to bring an idea to the forefront. You know what they say – haste makes waste. 🙂 Nothing good ever comes from something rushed. 🙂 ❤ Hugs xxxx

  10. Hello! Excellent tips, Debby! I couldn’t agree more. When I’m feeling stumped or mentally tired I go for a walk with my dog, or to the mall with my mom and drink plenty of water. That usually does it. Reading and writing are very inspiring. I don’t know how many times I’ve been in the middle of writing a story, when I’ve gotten inspired to write another. ❤ xx

    1. Thanks for popping by Vashti. 🙂 Signs of a true writer, lol;. And yes, staying hydrated is so important, and sometimes forgotten when getting absorbed in our work. ❤

  11. Walk away! It seems such a difficult thing to do, but it works.

    Take yesterday, for example. There I was with a whole free day on my hands to write. I just could not get into the writing groove. I kept trying, but nothing. I then shut down the computer and walked away from it.

    This morning, I log on and there’s been no stopping me. 😀Do you also find that sometimes it’s certain types of writing that you have a block on, Debby? For example, about a month ago, all I wanted to write was short stories. Blog posts did not come to me. Now, I find myself in the position of just wanting to write blog posts – no desire to write any fiction whatsoever. It’s so strange how it happens, but it’s something that really happens to me.

    1. Hugh, sounds like your syndrome is similar to mine! But the point is, it works – distancing ourselves from banging our heads for words, which seem to appear magically while we focus on something else. I know some find this method difficult because they are determined to get the words out. But when the mind draws blanks we really have to take a walk. I’ve never heard from anyone that doesn’t have new ideas when they’ve diverted from a project for even a short time. 🙂 xx

  12. Great tips, Debby! Many ideas come to mind when driving and listening to music, or just being still in nature. Amazing things happen when we just let go. Thanks for sharing. Cheers! XO

  13. Good list. I do most of it. The hardest thing for me is to walk away, but I need to do more and more of that–walk away into new beautiful places or walk away into new experiences that stimulate new ideas. Also, Joseph Campbell’s idea to “Follow Your Bliss.” If I do something I love, I”ll love writing about it.

  14. Excellent tips, Debby. I haven’t been back to my WIP but not because of writer’s block. We have had a busy summer with so many get togethers, parties and such that I can’t get back to my book. Sigh! Of course I have been busy blogging in between things. Oh well, will get back to writing soon. Thanks for the wonderful post, Debby and Wendy!! Hugs xx ❤️

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