Some authors claim that there's no such thing as writers' block, but if you've ever encountered it, you'll welcome this guest post by seasoned author and writing coach Jenny Alexander, who has written scores of fiction, non-fiction and self-help books for children and adults. Drawing on nearly 25 years of experience as an author, she's sharing here today her top tips from her self-published book, “When a Writer Isn’t Writing: How to Beat Your Blocks, Be Published and Find Your Flow”.
Five Stages, Five Blocks, Five Solutions
Writers can feel stalled at any stage along the way, from planning to publication, and blocks at different stages require different strategies to deal with. When a Writer Isn’t Writing looks at five common blocks and offers practical solutions.
1 Stuck on the First Page
If you’re stuck on page 1 and can’t even get started, it’s possible you may just need to do some more planning, but the root of the problem is often hidden fear. You can use Cognitive Behavioural Therapy techniques to identify and change the limiting thoughts that are fuelling your fears. That’s the cognitive bit. The behavioural bit is just writing, and any kind of daily practice, such as ‘morning pages’ or writing from prompts can help you let go of the notion that you have to wait for perfect inspiration before you can begin.
2 Started then Stopped
If you’ve got started on your book but are struggling to continue, you may have literally lost the plot, or be feeling disengaged from your characters. The key to recovering your momentum is checking that the main plot is firmly focused on the main protagonist and getting to know your characters better, so that you care about what happens to them more.
3 First Draft but No Further
If you’ve finished your first draft but can’t face going back and redrafting, it could be that you’re simply not clear enough about the tasks of redrafting, at both plot and language level. The solution is to read up on the craft of writing, or find a mentor. My book gives you a mini master class on how to approach redrafting.
4 Faltering at the Finish
If you’ve redrafted and made your book as good as you can, your next block might be wondering how and whether to go for publication. What you need in order to break that block is information about the current book market, and a thorough understanding of your options.
5 Tempted to Quit Altogether
If you’re completely stuck and seriously questioning whether you want to go on writing at all, it might be that your writing goals are no longer in line with your core values. Simple self-tests based on life coaching can help you find the right direction, and recover your enthusiasm.
Other Writing Resources
When a Writer Isn’t Writing is the latest in a series of writers’ resources I’ve been putting together, based on my own experience and creative teaching. The first one, Writing in the House of Dreams, published last year, is about inspiration and the psychology of creativity; my Apple app Get Writing is about developing a daily practice, and this new book looks at the whole writing process. Mslexia magazine has 5 copies of When a Writer Isn’t Writing up for grabs in their online competition throughout the month of October.
OVER TO YOU What's your favourite solution to a case of writers' block? Do tell!5 cures for #writers' block by @JennyAlexander4 #ww #writerswednesday #writing Click To Tweet
3 MORE PRACTICAL POSTS ABOUT WRITING
- NaNoWriMo – A Great Productivity Boost for Self-published Authors by Samantha Warren
- The Best Seating Solutions for Indie Authors at their Writing Desks by Debbie Young
- Writing the Front and Back Matter for your Self-published Book by Jessica Bell