Overcoming Writers Block

We all have it at one point or another. Writers block. I’m finding that with each chapter or section writers block blank pagewithin a chapter I encounter the blank page staring at me.

Menacingly.

After I collect my thoughts I start to organize what I want to write. Once I get beyond that initial stumbling block I can write for hours. So long in fact that my family has to pull me away from the computer sometimes.

Here are a few things I do to get beyond my writers block.

1. Make a schedule. Stick to the schedule!

I’m a morning person. I love getting up early when the house is quiet and I’m all by myself. This is the time I’m most productive so I tend to take advantage of this time. From about 7:00 am until 11:00 am each day I dedicate time to my writing. This doesn’t mean that if I’m on a roll I’ll stop, but it does mean I do nothing during that time except write!

2. Set deadlines.

I’m kind of competitive with myself. Even in college when I worked at the Gap we’d have sales goals to win all sorts of cool prizes. I’d want to win the best prize each day so I busted my butt to win. I’d be sure I exceeded my previous day goal so I could be on top each day I worked. When writing my MA thesis I had a time-table to keep and by golly I made sure I got my edits to my professor on time. There were days when I’d drop something off to her before I went to work, picked up her changes on lunch and then got the edits back by the close of the day. For my book I have my own schedule and keeping the deadlines at top of mind always keeps me going.

3. Be creative.

I can’t always be writing the book. I do have a family and other priorities. I have found I need other creative outlets, even other writing outlets. My blog is one avenue I use to keep ideas fresh and keep me on track. Letting your mind go idle can be a good thing. Your thoughts need time to percolate. Give yourself the necessary time to gather new experiences and ideas, from life, reading, or other forms of art before you start writing again.

4. Don’t panic.

Whatever you do, don’t get yourself so turned around you can’t think straight.  Try different approaches to the writing process and see what works best for you. Visit past pieces of writing or read up on your topic.

5. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

To publish this book on time my publisher has me on a schedule (not to be confused with my own daily schedule). Each day I write, but I don’t hold myself to a set number of pages. I write until my ideas are out. If I write three paragraphs then I write three paragraphs. If I write three pages then I write three pages. Regardless, I’m happy with what I’ve done for the day. Did you know that Graham Greene famously wrote 500 words, and only 500 words, every morning. Five hundred words is approximately a page worth of writing. Amazingly with those mere 500 words per day, Greene wrote and published over 30 books! WOW!

What do you do when you face the blank page?

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