You know how frustrating it is to stare at a screen or a sheet of paper and have absolutely no idea what to write next. Fortunately, there’s a way to get past writers block, as they call it, and it has nothing to do with the so-called muse, creative prowess or a fertile imagination.
It has to do with focus.
Writers block can strike in two ways:
1. You’ve written part of a piece, but you’re blocked on figuring out how to continue it
2. You’ve written nothing and are blocked in getting started
I consider myself fortunate, because I learned early on how to get past writers block. I think it was my novel-writing experiences that helped me. During these processes, I sometimes would get to a point where my fingers stopped moving and I looked at the last thing I wrote and couldn’t decide how to proceed. It was pretty upsetting.
Turned out, there was no “block” inside my mind. What there was was a lack of knowledge about the topic I was in the middle of. I had veered in a direction that ceased to carry my story forward. I was trying to write a sequence that simply was untrue. This can happen in any kind of writing. You go off on a literary tangent, and before long you start sputtering and come to a grinding halt.
Get past writers block: TIP #1
You know what a delete key is. When you get lost because you’ve left the road of truth, simply go back to the departure point, select everything below it and hit delete. Get rid of it. Don’t save it or try to remember it. It was wrong, and you don’t need it. If you’ll just be brave and delete back to the point when what you were writing was true, you should be able to pick up from there and continue on with your idea.
When you sit down and want to write something but can’t even make the first keystroke, you have a different kind of problem.
In this case, your problem is you don’t really know what you want to say in the first place. Which means you don’t know your subject. The subject you know, the pieces of it you don’t. You’re not ready to write, so to break through this kind of writers block, all you have to do is learn more.
If you’re motivated to write something and you know your topic and its pieces, nothing can stop you from getting the words out. People who stare at the proverbial blank screen are people who haven’t done enough research on their subject to provide them with the necessary words needed to tie all the pieces together.
The solution here is to absorb more material relating to what you want to write about it. If it’s fiction, maybe you need to get a better handle on the plot or some of the characters or a geographic location in the story. If it’s a staff bio for your website, maybe you need to know more about the staff member. If it’s a blog post, maybe you need to take a breath and think more widely and deeply about what you really want to say and why it matters to you.
You can get past writers block if you learn how to place your focus where it needs to be: on the subject, and off the road less-traveled.
(Note: my incorrect use of the plural writers instead of the correct singular possessive writer‘s is one of the fairly rare instances where I’ll sacrifice literary integrity for potentially better search engine recognition.)