Margie Lawson

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Writer's Block Can Kiss My...

By Jenn Windrow

Writer's Block Image

Writer's block

  1. The condition of being unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing.

Before 2020, I had a hard-core writing routine. I woke up, took care of my motherly duties for my kids and fur babies, plopped my butt in my chair and wrote. I wrote until the kids came home, and then I was mom again. I managed to write and publish five books with this model in less than four years.

I published my last novel January 24th, 2020, right before the world went to H-E-Double hockey sticks. I was pretty sick at the time, having some unknown ick that was making me want to sleep every moment of the day, so I didn’t dive into the next book like I usually do to keep the momentum going.

Big mistake.  

The pandemic hit, and my family all came home. My once quiet routine no longer existed, and my chance to find that routine I so badly needed has never returned.

Over two years later, and I am still struggling to find my flow. Hold myself accountable. Get words on the page. And honestly, it sucks. 

Writing is my passion, my characters are my friends, and when I am not writing, I am moody and twitchy, and another word that rhymes with twitchy that I’m not allowed to say in this blog post.

So, I went on a search to see how to break my writer’s block. 

This is what I discovered…

For me, writing requires me to be in the right head space. If I’m tired or stressed or preoccupied with something else, the words don’t flow. So, I had to find a way to be creative, get those words on the page, but not force them, they needed to come naturally.

That meant baby steps. One sentence, one paragraph, once page, one chapter at a time. Setting small attainable daily goals for myself. Nothing overwhelming. No timelines or due dates to make me feel guilty if I missed them.

And that’s what I started doing a few weeks ago. 

Since I am in the deep editing stage of a book, I set the goal to use Margie’s highlighting system, something I had not needed to do for years since I could see the colors in my head, but felt would be the best way to get myself going again. And it worked. The whole first half of the book is highlighted. I made notes, added everything into the computer, and I’m ready to start on the second, really sucky half of the novel. But that second half is a beast that needs to be tamed, and one I am not sure I can handle all at once. And honestly, that scares me, and that fear will cause the writer’s block to kick in again, and I can’t have that.

So how am I going to handle it?

One sentence, one paragraph, one page, one chapter at a time.

But on the days where it all seems so overwhelming, there are other things I can do that can help me stay creative, and make sure the nasty writer’s block stays away. This is my list.

Writer's Block Can Kiss My... 1
  1. Writing prompts – You can find some really fun ones online, on Pinterest, or even in fun little books like this one. You may ask, how does a writing prompt help me work on my WIP, well, taylor make the prompt to your world. I think you might be surprised what you come up with, I know I was.
  • Dedicated writing time – I knew part of the problem was not having time that was just for my writing, so I started hosting a weekly write in. I made it a point to show up, same day, same time, every week, and it forced me to focus on just my writing.
  • Sprinting – Some of my issues come with being inside my own head. I needed to let my writing flow out of me, but I was so worried about making it perfect, I would spend hours on one paragraph, wasting the precious time I had set aside. So set a timer, 15 minutes at first, and just write. Get out of your own head and write. Then set and other and another and another, and before you know it, you’ve written 1,000 words and had a successful day.
  • Change where you write – Maybe you need a new place to spark that creative burst. Go somewhere new and write. I’m not saying for forever, but for however long it takes you to burst that writing block bubble. Places like…
  1. The library
  2. Local bookstore
  3. Coffee shop
  4. Another room in the house
  5. Outside
  6. Hotel room

The idea is to get into a new space so you can open up those creative juices.

  • Try the unconventional – If you are a keyboard writer, strictly typing your books into the computer, then pull out a pen and paper and write by hand. If you are a hand writer, sit your butt down at the keyboard and try writing that way. Mix it up, force your brain to work harder. Use dictation, a writing app on your phone, anything to shake it up a bit.
  • Editing – Maybe you’re struggling to write something new and that’s stressing you out, but you still want to be creative, you still want to write. Then edit. Take something you’ve already written that you know needs improvement, and work on that. It may not be new words on the page, but it’s still working toward the goal of finishing your book.

When our imaginary friends don’t want to play with us, it makes writer’s sad and depressed and cranky. But sometimes just changing a few things in our daily lives will help overcome the writer’s block that can cause any writer to go insane.

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