How to overcome writer's block

A queer guide to writing.

How to overcome writer's block

One of the common writing challenges that people often encounter is getting stuck. Writer’s block. Getting to a point where they can’t find a way forward.

For many people, writer’s block can be an insurmountable obstacle. It can drain you of your creativity and your motivation, and force you to shelve the project that you’ve been working on.

Here’s some steps you can try to help you navigate writer’s block.

Step 1 – Recognise writer’s block when you encounter it

Writer’s block means different things for different people. It could be that you’re struggling with a particular phrase or description, or it could be a major deal-breaker that makes you re-think everything you’ve done.

What does writer’s block means for you? When it’s going well, writing should generally be an enjoyable process. If you’re not enjoying what you’re writing, if you’re struggling to find the words you need, or don’t have any motivation, passion, or excitement about your writing, then you could be struggling in the quicksand of a writer’s block.

Step 2 – Take a break

If you find yourself struggling with the writing that you’re trying to tackle, the first step is to take a break. Make some coffee, walk the dog, go to the gym, get some fresh air.

It could be just a few minutes away from laptop, or you might take the rest of the day off to see a movie. Take a walk around the block and come back to your writing with a clear head and a fresh perspective.

Step 3 – Describe the problem

If you’ve taken a break but on your return still find that you’re struggling, it’s important to identify and articulate what it is that’s causing you a problem.

Create a quick memo for yourself – what are you trying to write about, why are you finding it difficult, which specific parts of what you’re trying to write are causing you problems. Name it. Put a flag on it.

This is a problem that you might not be able to solve right now, but it’s something that you’ll return to at some point.

Step 4 – Navigate around the block

Rather than letting your writer’s block grind your entire project to a standstill, find a way to navigate around it. Move to another chapter, another scene – find somewhere within your project where you can get some momentum going again.

Tackling different perspectives or aspects of your project will help to keep you moving forward and may ultimately help you tackle the bit that’s been causing you problems.

Step 5 – Return to the sticking point

A writing block is never an end-point or a lost cause, it’s just a tricky piece of terrain that you haven’t quite figured out yet how to navigate.

As you keep working on your project, periodically revisit any writing blocks that you’ve flagged. Are they still causing you problems? Could you tackle them from a different perspective? Have you now got the insight you need in order to resolve the issues?