Overcoming Writer’s Block

Writer’s block is just part of the game when it comes to writing. It doesn’t matter what you write: screenplays, stage-plays, novels, short stories, poems, essays, etc. You will eventually get to a point when the ideas aren’t pushing forward to the front of your consciousness, and you are left with this helpless feeling: what the hell am I going to do!?

All of us experience writer’s block. Some of us experience is quickly and painlessly. Perhaps, you have a box filled with old ideas and anytime writer’s block attacks you just reference these ideas and let them jump-start your creativity. You still had writer’s block, but it only lasted for a brief amount of time. Others, myself included, will experience writer’s block for a much longer period of time. Days. Weeks. Longer, perhaps. It can be a particularly brutal time, especially if you know certain themes or events you’d like to talk about, but you just don’t know how to formulate these ideas into words, even though you’ve done it a million times before.

There are a few tricks you can try if you’ve come to that point where your creative mind keeps running into a wall. The first thing you can try is free-writing. Free-writing is when you take a piece of paper and a pencil/pen and, without thinking, just write. Pour out any and everything inside your head. Don’t edit. Don’t read it as you write. Just write. When you’re done, go for a walk, or watch a movie. After a little time has passed come back and read what you’ve written. Sometimes you’ll find a sentence or two that works and will help you break through that wall. I do warn you, however, most of what you’ve written will be horrible, and that’s okay. The idea is to find the little bits that aren’t bad, and there will be bits that are good, or at least point to what you are looking for.

Another trick you can do is what I referenced earlier about a box of ideas. Cut up a piece of paper into a bunch of small pieces and write random premises. They can be anything you like. Throw them in a box and the next time you have writer’s block simply reference the notes. Now, if you are currently in a writer’s block you can write out a random premise and write a page or two. What you write may be unusable, but at least you’ll be writing something.

Another thing you can do is stop thinking about the fact you have writer’s block and focus on something else. The problem with writer’s block is that it focuses our attention to the act of generating ideas and inspiration. Most of the time, however, inspiration and the generation of ideas comes naturally when we aren’t thinking about it. When we think about it we ruin our chances of letting it happen.

You will break through the wall, but it takes time, and it takes forgetting about it in order for it to happen. Once you break through, well, the ideas probably will pour out and you’ll have so many ideas for stories you want to tell that you won’t know what to do with the extras.