There are lots of reasons why we reach a barrier: censor our work, stress in our ‘other’ life, rejections, low self esteem, I could go on, but you get the picture.
Here are some tips to help move forward:
- Develop and follow a writing schedule even if you write only a few hundred words. If you are consistent and sit down to write on a schedule, your mind will react accordingly.
- Don’t be hard on yourself. Just write. Save the critique for later when you edit.
- Don’t panic. Panicking will only make the block worse. The less you think about what you’re doing the better your writing will be. Let it flow.
- Take some time off especially if you have just finished one project. Give yourself time to recharge your batteries and gather new experiences.
- Set reasonable deadlines and goals for yourself. You may also want to find a writing group for support. It’s good to touch base with other writers and understand you are not alone. Commiserating puts things in perspective.
- Take a good look at any long standing issues that stop you from writing. Writing can be cathartic. Write about your anxieties and talk them out, preferably with another writer.
- Work on more than one project. Sometimes a second project can spur ideas for the first.
- Try a writing exercise. Just for fun. Finish this sentence: Like a butterfly, she magically …
- Get away from your desk for a while. You need to stretch your legs, get the blood going. Go to the gym, browse your favorite book store, or go for a walk. When you come back to your desk you will feel renewed.
- Remember why you started writing and don’t give up. Think about the excitement, how much fun you had getting the words down. Recapture the spirit that is the muse.
This past weekend I joined friends from the Hudson Valley Chapter of RWA at their annual retreat. I packed up the car and went with goals in mind. The hour long drive up into the Jersey mountains gave me time to decompress.
Liz and Stephie planned a fluid program. We spent the day writing and the evening brainstorming with a bit of partying. It was great unplugging from my day-to-day and spending time with other writers. I came home with great ideas how to resolve the plot issues for my WIP, renewed energy for writing, and had a wonderful time with friends. The weight lifted, I'm ready to invite the muse back to my desk.