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careerbassmaster's avatar

Do any fellow writers have tips for overcoming writers block?

Asked by careerbassmaster (188points) November 9th, 2008

I am a aspiring writer and am going through a bout of writers block. I usually use muse or prompt books but I can’t even motivate myself to pick up one now. Can any writers share their secrets to overcoming writers block and getting ink to paper.

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25 Answers

asmonet's avatar

One of my bestf riends and I have used this in the past, open up iTunes of Winamp or something and make a playlist of the mood, theme or songs that you think signify the characters. Listen to it and just jot down your thoughts. Usually, after about an hour or so you have more than enough material to get you started again. It’s relaxing and inspirational. It takes some practice for most but in the end it’s well worth it.

jtvoar16's avatar

I agree with asmonet. I usually throw my mp3 player into the car and hit the roads into the mountains, or goto the mall, strap on the headphones and watch the people prattle on by.
If none of that works, I hit an anime site and start downloading anything with 4 or 5 stars, watch the entire thing, especially early in the morning, so as to be suffering from sleep depravations and that usually gets my brains going.
Oh and LOLCatz, they make me happy. I write when I am happy… not well, but I do get crud and junk onto the pages, enough to trick my editor into believing I have even a hint of a clue as to what I am doing!

popo7676's avatar

I know it sounds weird, but the less clothes you have on the easier it is to think(not necessarily naked). Trust me I’m not the only one who thinks this. Although, I usually only do this when I’m alone though, and not really for reading, mainly writing.

Bioplasmic's avatar

There’s a self help book for this called The Artist’s way, it worked for a friend.

charliecompany34's avatar

change of venue.

janbb's avatar

There is a technique called freeewriting in whcih you just write down anything that is going through your mind without censoring it at all. It is used as an exercise to let you write without any censor and to help prime the pump. Once you are able to do some physical writing, you can sometimes get back into your own work. Or even find something in the freewriting that you can use. Journaling can be used in a similar way. Looking back for material in your journal, Virignia Woolf used to call seraching for “diamonds in the dustheap.”

I also find I sometimes have to get up and go away from my work. If I can, I try to get the start ofthe next paragraph or idea down so I know where I was going to go with it.

St.George's avatar

I heard the book Bird by Bird is good for writers’ block.

lapilofu's avatar

There’s a lot of great advice here.

But also, seriously, read Bird by Bird. Every writer must.

derektherock42's avatar

What I do is I just start looking around the room or wherever I’m at, and I look for inspiration. If there’s a clock next to me, I might write about that clock. Probably sounds weird.
If it’s a poem or descriptive story you’re trying to write, I like flipping through the dictionary looking for intriguing words that could fit the situation. Just some things I do.

MacBean's avatar

The two pieces of advice that I hear most often are:
1.) Don’t force it; it’ll come back naturally.
2.) Just sit down and make yourself write.

So… no. No tips here. Sorry.

johnnyknoxville08's avatar

ill take a pen and notepad and just walk around somewhere neat—-

TheNakedHippie's avatar

I once had a prompt that said: “You’ve just been trapped in an elevator with the one person you absolutely loathe. Now what?”

Kinda trite, but it may get you going, so who knows where that’ll lead. ;]

Happy writing!

careerbassmaster's avatar

Thanks to everyone for the great advice. I do know some techniques but they have not been working so I was just trying to tap other writers for their suggestions. I will try all of the advice here I sure. Thanks to all.

Trustinglife's avatar

Another book idea: Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg. She’s my favorite author, and these are brilliant ideas on how to make writing a daily practice.

jdegrazia's avatar

Watch Chris Abani talk about storytelling.

Jess's avatar

Get drunk and don’t write anything down unless it’s from the bottom of your soul!

wondersteph's avatar

Kudos for the Bird by Bird answer. Lamott is GREAT!
I think getting out and taking a walk or bicycle ride with my ipod is great. Put on some music that inspires you or that makes you think. Visit places that evoke emotion.
Should do the trick…maybe…:)

lifeflame's avatar

I find a friend that I trust – someone who will listen, get excited, and ask questions (but not necessarily problem solve it for me). The act of having to explain something can clarify things for me. Very often when I get blocked it’s because I took a wrong premise earlier on, so by explaining to someone I can sense better the reasons why I did what I did, or why whatever I am writing is important.

Actually, come to think about it, even the act of writing a letter to my friend does wonders for me. For some reason, my writing focuses when it has an audience. So perhaps you can imagine writing or reading aloud to someone that you trust.

Ajoiner's avatar

I like having a few different journals at a time. Each with it’s own intended purpose (creative outlet, log book and memorandum, critical thinking and deconstruction, junk etc.)

LikeABird's avatar


evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

all of these are good suggestions, I may have to try them at a later date.

ArizonaPancakes's avatar

empty your mind of inter thoughts. let your ears take the burden for awhile.listen to the cars out side, People talking, things happening around you.You’ll be amazed how it will free your mind to create.

arturodiaz's avatar

Get some wine and good company, better if is someone you care about. Talk about something deep, profound. Something about yourself and something about life. Question yourself. That always inspire me :)

Coloma's avatar

I’ll stick with this little gem…forgot who the author is ( Sam Clemens perhaps…perhaps not, haha )

‘Nothing good was ever written over a glass of ice water’ lol

I’m not a big drinker…but…a couple o’ drinks and I’m the life of the party, in my own head…sometimes out of it too! lol

I have launched the writing rocket many times by ‘using’ a glass of wine or 3 or a few beers as a catalyst to lubricate the rusty floodgates. lol

ArizonaPancakes's avatar

I read a great writer’s book called, “Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life” by Anne Lamott. It really helped me alot.

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