Writer's block

Writer's block: overcome it with these 10 tips

"German Lesson" by Siegfried Lenz, "Shining" by Stephen King and "The Plague" by Camus have one thing in common: they are all about writer's block. The fear of the blank page. You know how it is: the famous first sentence just won't come to you? Or you're stuck in the middle of a novel and can't get any further? Don't despair! Even the most famous authors have had it once. There are usually harmless reasons behind writer's block. But how can you overcome your writer's block?

All the facts about writer's block

What is writer's block?

The pencil is sharpened, the paper is ready, the phone is unplugged - or the mouse is adjusted in front of the computer, the coffee is ready, the Word document is glowing expectantly at you. Everything seems perfectly prepared, now you just have to write. But why won't it go ahead? The dreaded white page flickers mercilessly. The longer you sit in front of the blank page, the more it inhibits you.

Every writer, journalist, or pre-thesis student knows that feeling of sitting in front of the blank, white page. If you find it difficult to put your thoughts into words and put them down on paper, experts say it's writer's block. It also makes it hard to concentrate on your concept or to understand the Storyline ...to elaborate further. There is simply nothing more going on.

World-famous writers also know this feeling. Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Ernest Hemingway and Franz Kafka, for example, suffered from writing disorders.

What are the consequences of writer's block?

Sometimes writer's inhibition occurs not only with the Start writingbut in the middle of the process. You've written a great first sentence, the beginning seems to write itself - but suddenly something inhibits you. Suddenly vacuuming, taking out the paper trash or cleaning out the dishwasher are much more interesting.

Everyone reacts differently to writer's block. One person wrestles with the first sentence for days, starts over and over again, and can't get a word down on paper. Another writes and writes, only to eventually question and discard everything. Writer's block leads to nervousness, malaise, (fear of) failure. Writer's block can go so far that the writer stops the writing process altogether. But there are reasons for the inhibitions. And before you give up, you should go in search of clues.

What is the cause of writer's block? Identify reasons for writer's block

Time pressure, lack of breaks or inspiration, too high demands or fear of failure - writer's block can have many causes. Sometimes they are psychologically motivated. Thus, it can be due to bad experiences, fears or too high demands on one's own work. In most cases, the reasons are more likely to be found in the area of content or organisation. For example, an unstructured way of working, too much material or complex structures of your text.

Therefore, start the search at the work situation. When does the writer's block occur? Is it new or does it occur repeatedly? With which types of text are you inhibited?

How do you solve writer's block?

If you know whether your writer's block is psychological or content-related, it will be easier for you to overcome it. In most cases, it is not a serious, pathological problem, but your own organization of your writing. It may help you to develop routines or to take breaks, perhaps a walk, in between. Often it only takes small changes to get out of writer's block and to be able to devote yourself fully to writing again.

Solve writer's block: 10 tips to get back into the flow of writing.

Deadline yes, time pressure no!

Pressure affects your self-esteem and inhibits your creativity.

Time pressure is the big killer when it comes to creativity and a constructive and successful writing process. Therefore, avoid time pressure. Many people find it easier to work to a deadline than to write in the blue and perhaps keep putting it off. To avoid time pressure, you should set yourself a realistic time frame for writing.

The window of time between "taking the child to daycare" and "starting work" is too narrow, and resolutions like "writing during your lunch break" create more pressure than progress. To be creative and productive, you need a period of time in which you can concentrate on the text. Half an hour or an hour is usually not enough.

So when you set yourself a deadline, make sure to leave yourself a realistic window of time to write.

Create writing routines

A time and writing schedule is recommended.

Writing briefly between shopping and work, inserting a spontaneous half-hour writing phase when everything is just done - that usually doesn't work. Just as with sleeping, eating and other everyday things, it is also important to create a certain "daily routine" for creative work, a so-called writing routine.

Even Thomas Mann swore by his daily writing routine, which he followed through with iron-hard discipline and which no one was allowed to interrupt. His mammoth bibliography shows: If the famous Lübeck writer suffered from writer's block, he quickly got a grip on it.

Fixed writing rituals and a daily writing routine help to overcome writer's block. When do you have time to write? Can you set up writing days or dedicate a single day just to this activity? Or is there a daily window of time you can use? You may even have the opportunity to retreat to a quiet room and write in a relaxed and creative atmosphere. Set yourself a regular deadline and stick to it. Ideally, you should always start at the same time. This will help you create a rhythm that will prevent writer's block. Don't forget to leave enough space for research, thinking and planning.

Take time for ideas and inspiration

There are worlds between the first draft and the final text - and ideas!

Not only does writing take time, but new ideas and inspiration need their space to develop. Give yourself the space to change your story. Don't hold too tightly to a preconceived plan. Often, as you write, the characters decide how to proceed with the plot and by the end, your book has become a very different, but possibly more interesting, story.

Any writer will tell you that there's a world of difference between the first draft of a manuscript and the final text. In between: a ton of revisions. Take the time to do this. This is where ideas and creative approaches creep in that can enrich and embellish your book. These particular ideas and inspirations make it unique.

Order is half the (writer's) life

Without order, chaos will rule your desk.

In addition to having a structured writing schedule to organize your time, you should also keep your materials organized. Loose leaf collections with the collected texts, quotations and ideas make your writing more confusing. The best thing to do is to create a folder or a file on your PC in which you collect everything and structure it according to topic. That way, you can easily refer to it at any time when writing.

A project plan for your book project can also help you avoid getting lost in a lack of structure. How do the plot structures and the Arc of suspense? Do you know your Figures good enough? An inadequate book concept or disorganized material can be triggers of writing inhibitions. Don't let it get to that point in the first place. Maybe the Snowflake Methodto structure your novel?

Really getting into the swing of things - writing exercises and creative writing

The best way to learn to write is to write.

There are many ways to get inspiration for your texts and to solve writer's block by new ideas and ideas. Free association, brainstorming or mind maps are suitable starting points for overcoming writer's block. You can find ideas for creative writing exercises at featherrider.com. There are also numerous guidebooks that give approaches.

A writing routine can also help. Write as much as you can, preferably daily, but definitely regularly. The more often and regularly you write, the easier it will be for you to find inspiration and ideas.

Take breaks too

Breathe deeply during targeted breaks.

Even just not thinking about the text sometimes. You can solve writer's block by taking the time to take breaks. This can even lead to new ideas and make you more balanced and effective. As a general rule, we can work with concentration for about 90 minutes at a time. After that, we should take a short breather. But be careful: Just as you shouldn't overdo your work, you should also limit your breaks. Don't let yourself surf the Internet or social media distract you. Set aside a window of time to take your mind off things. Maybe a short walk will help you?

Movement brings new thoughts

Pen aside, computer off and off into the fresh air.

When nothing helps: Get out into the countryside. Sometimes the best writing plan and the best writing strategies just don't help anymore. The head is empty and exhausted. In such a situation, the only thing that helps is a change of scenery. Go for a walk or take a short trip to get your mind off things. Freshly motivated, you can start again.

When you're out walking, hiking, or doing sports, you'll come up with some brilliant ideas for your own book that you can work right into the text at your next writing session. But again, don't put yourself under pressure. You don't have to bring new ideas to your desk every time you go for a walk. Rather, the break serves to recharge your batteries, energy and motivation!

Allow mistakes!

Say goodbye to unrealistic expectations of yourself.

Nobody is perfect! As with all situations in life, this also applies to writing. Many writer's blockades are due to the fact that authors have too high or unrealistic expectations of themselves and their own texts. But trying to make everything perfect limits you and takes away the chance of surprises and unexpected developments. You can still revise after writing, and test readers can help you in the end. You don't have to produce a masterful text in the first draft. Most good books are created through a multitude of proofreading passes.

So forget your perfection compulsion and just write away!

Learning from role models

Read, read and read again!

As in all artistic fields, it is also true for writing that we should refer to role models and learn from them. Before writing comes first reading. Most famous authors were frequent readers, spending days and nights in libraries devouring the books of their favorite authors.

The texts of other authors are a source of inspiration. No work exists that does not refer in some way to a previous book. Even the most famous works of world literature are full of ideas from previously written texts. So keep curious and do one thing above all: read as much as you can. By doing so, you'll get back ideas for writing and the motivation to do so. This enthusiasm for literature and writing can solve any writer's block.

Enter into conversation

Sharing with sufferers can heal.

Neither a walk nor a routine will overcome your writer's block? You may even suffer from a fear of failure that just won't go away? Then talk about it! Maybe sharing your experiences with other writers will help. You can find them through online forums or Facebook groups. If the reasons for your writer's block lie deeper, you should seek professional help. That way you can target the causes of your inhibitions.

Conclusion

The reasons for writer's block are as varied as the methods to overcome it. Don't let the blank page drive you crazy. Whether it's with a writing routine, purposeful breaks, or creative exercises, there are numerous ways to solve writer's block.

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