1. Use Logic: Check for External Pressures
Are you under physical or emotional stress? Is your diet lacking? Do you need more sleep, or more restful
sleep? Would a visit to the doctor be in order before you start beating yourself up about your inability to
2. Start brainstorming
Jot down all the possible plot permutations you can think of. At first, these will be fairly logical. Then,
as you run out of options, you'll find that you start to come up with more off-the- wall ideas. These might be
just what you need to get you going again.
3. Ease into your writing
Start your writing session with something that's 'easy' - a letter, a shopping list, a recipe, a 'to do'
list. Then move on to a brief session of free writing. THEN go back to your story. You may find, as others have
in the past, that a half-hour session of writing in a journal or diary is a good warm-up for a writing
4. Take some time out
Only you know how much time this should be. Sometimes the subconscious simply needs time to work its magic.
That might be a day, a week or a month. Obey your instincts. You might think that the danger is you'll never
get back to it. Okay: perhaps that means you don't LIKE it enough to get back to it. Writing shouldn't be a
penance. Find a job or a hobby that you DO like.
5. Revisit the last few pages
Go back ten or twenty pages and revise. You could even retype the last page completely, and see if that
releases new ideas.
6. Use the tried and true 'carrot' trick. Reward yourself!
Think of something you'd really, really like. (Of course, the family might object if you want to reward
yourself for your diligence with a trip to Bali.) A chocolate? A trip to see a movie? Dinner out? New clothes?
Set yourself a task that is commensurate with the size of the reward - and DO IT.
7. Pressure Cooker Tactics
Some of us work well only under pressure. You'll probably know if this applies to you by thinking back to
how you handled homework, assignments and exams at school. If you can produce when the pressure's on, then set
yourself a deadline. Don't make that deadline too unrealistic, though, or you may find that you're setting
yourself up for failure - again.
8. Change the time and venue
J.K. Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter book in extended stints in a cafe (or so the story goes). Roald
Dahl worked in a battered garden shed. Try changing the venue or the time of your writing - from home to a
library; from late evenings to early morning; from the kitchen table to a table in the corner of your
9. Meditate or go walking
Sometimes it helps to get out in the fresh air, or to sit quietly and move into a meditative state and just
let the ideas flow. Or not flow. Perhaps what you need is to dissociate yourself from the world for a
10. KEEP walking... remember Forrest Gump...
Don't want to write any more at all? OK. Then walk away and keep walking. Nobody said you have to write. Why
write if it makes you miserable? It may ALWAYS make you miserable. If that's the case, don't do it. It really
is that simple.
Or...it may be making you miserable NOW, but you loved it in the past and you expect you will again. If so,
walk away just for a while. Give yourself an extended break - and only go back to the keyboard when you just
can't stay away any longer. That's the best cure there is for writer's block.
(c) copyright Marg McAlister