Seeing the Trees – Ten Ways Around Writer’s Block

This post by JJ Marsh originally appeared on her site on 2/21/15. Warning: strong language.

A writer friend is helping me out by checking a Spanish translation of my work. I asked how I could repay the favour.

“Encouragement!” she said. “I’m blocked. So many false starts, I need help to get moving again.”

Blocks happen to all of us, sometimes caused by rejection or criticism, sometimes because we need to top up the creative reservoir. Advice often falls into the ‘Stand back’, ‘Take a break’, ‘Do something else’ category. Yes, that works.

But sometimes we get blocked because we’re looking at the woods and not seeing the trees. So get closer.

When I hit a wall, I stop trying to envisage the forest and get right down to twig level. I spend some time doing the equivalent of staring at a blade of grass. I’ve collected a series of exercises from all over and this is how I get past my blocks. After I’ve forced myself to complete a few of these, I return to my ms with an attitude I can only describe as Hell Yeah!

They aren’t for everyone – depends on what the block is – but it might give you a few ideas. Here are ten exercises which have worked for me:

Roll the dice. To generate some writing, start with www.storycubes.com/products. You could use cut out images from a magazine just as easily. Apply genres – whatever images you turn up, you have to fit them into crime/erotica/fairytale… WHY? Remind yourself of the childlike joy of just making shit up.

 

Read the full post, which includes 9 more specific tips for overcoming writer’s block, on JJ Marsh’s site.

 

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