7 Secrets For Overcoming Writer’s Block

Written by Eric Vance Walton | January 9, 2014

Writer’s block is one of the most frustrating afflictions that a writer can suffer from. It can cause unparalleled stress from project delays, missed deadlines, it can even cause you to second guess your talent. It is safe to say that everyone has suffered from writer’s block at some point in their lives. Studies have shown that under extreme stress the human brain shifts control from the cerebral cortex to the limbic system, which is the part of the nervous system associated with the fight or flight response. It is difficult to say if stress causes writer’s block or vice versa, but whichever comes first, writer’s block can surely be conquered.

When I first began working on my novels, some days I had no idea what I would write about and didn’t feel like writing after working all day. What I learned is something I’ll take with me for the rest of my life. Writer’s block doesn’t have to significantly delay a project.

I learned that I had control over my creative mood and it could be easily sparked given the right environment.

Getting into the “writing zone” for me is like opening the channel, once the brain is tuned in to this channel of creativity the words just flow. Some of my best writing has been accomplished after I felt like I couldn’t write another word. Following are some of my tips for getting your creativity back.

1. Try to find a space where all you do is write. The environment has to be comfortable and as free from distractions as possible. After a while merely stepping foot into that sacred space will help to coax your creative mood.

2. Create the mood with soft music, a candle or burn a mild incense. I usually play classical or New Age music but it is all a matter of finding what works for you. This will help you to get your writing, “groove on”.

3. Access your frame of mind before sitting down to write. If you find your mind is full of other things, try this short meditation before beginning to write. Close your eyes, straighten your back. Breathe in deeply through your nose for a count of 5, hold for a count of 3, exhale through your mouth for a count of 5 (remember, 5-3-5). Repeat 5 times. Each time you exhale imagine the stress and worries of the day leaving your mind and your body. I know, it sounds deceptively simple but this is a powerful tool.

4. Remember, never judge your first draft too harshly. Just write. First drafts are never perfect but often contain the seed of a great idea that, like a diamond in the rough, must be cut and polished to reveal its many facets of brilliance. The more you remember this, the less anxiety you’ll have, and the easier it will be to just write.

5. When working on long fiction, outline your chapters first. Many people sit down and try to write a 60,000+ world novel while staring at a blank white screen or page and become overwhelmed to the point of being paralyzed. Create the framework first, then fill in the gaps, it’s much easier.

6. When all else fails, walk away…momentarily. Engage yourself in something else, anything other than writing. It might sound silly but walking the dog has freed me from the grips of debilitating writer’s block. Usually after a few minutes the ideas begin flowing again, I’ve used my smart phone more times than I can count to record the ideas after the dam breaks.

7. Above all, believe in yourself and keep writing. The author Sylvia Plath said, “The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” This is so true. As a writer you will eventually look back and realize that you have become better with each word you’ve typed. In the end it doesn’t really matter if that particular writing session is good or bad, the most important thing is the act of writing itself. Write on!

Eric Vance Walton is a novelist, author and poet who’s been writing for twenty years. He invites you to follow his unfolding story by “liking” and “sharing” his Facebook author page at https://www.facebook.com/EricVanceWaltonAuthor for updates and promotions on his current and upcoming projects.