Three Great Tips for Overcoming Writer’s Block

How to Regain Inspiration and Finish Writing a Book

Don’t wait until the proverbial creative well runs dry. These simple strategies for overcoming writer’s block can help authors keep the ideas flowing indefinitely.

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What is the best way to finish writing a book? Should writers schedule a chunk of time each day and “force” the story out; or is it best to work only when the mood hits? These are common questions many authors are faced with at the prospect of finishing a book.

The truth is, starting a book is the easy part. The first few paragraphs or chapters can seem to flow out of an author’s mind faster than her hands can type. This is the most enjoyable stage because it stems from “impulsive inspiration” meaning she is writing only when the mood hits. Unfortunately, if that mood doesn’t hit on a regular basis, writer’s block can easily set in.

Creativity is similar to muscularity in that it will begin to atrophy with a lack of regular stimulation. Just as even the finest athletes have those days when they have to dig a bit deeper to find the will to continue on, all writers will experience the same. On that note, the best cure for writer’s block is discipline and perseverance.

Schedule Regular Writing Intervals

The best solution is to treat a book project like a regular job. Writers should set aside a certain number of hours each week and make sure to be seated at their desks on time. By scheduling regular writing intervals in this way, writers can move past that fleeting “impulsive inspiration” toward a more lasting “thoughtful inspiration” and finish their books once and for all. Sometimes, when settling down to write, they may have no idea what they’re going to say—and that’s okay. It might take half an hour to get that first awkward sentence out and “unlock the floodgates” of creativity; but most authors are pleasantly surprised with how much they have at the end of the session. It’s because the intention to create is the very thing that attracts the creation. That’s the power of deliberate, thoughtful inspiration.

Set Target Dates

Another way for writers to stay on track is to set achievable but strict deadlines for themselves. Perhaps, in January, they might say, “I want the first draft of this book completed by the end of November.” From there, they should guesstimate how many pages the book will be and break down the number that must be written per month, per week, per writing session in order to meet that page-count goal. Then stick to that schedule. Keep that self-promise. Just as intention attracts creation, persistence builds momentum.

Read Regularly

The writers who spend even as little as half an hour per day reading another author’s work often find they are more creative during their own writing sessions. It doesn’t have to be another book; it can be an online article, magazine, newspaper, or blog. Sometimes the least likely source can inspire the greatest creativity. The most important point here is for writers to keep themselves open and aware of the infinite pool of ideas all around them. Whatever it takes to get that first sentence out. From there, thoughtful inspiration can—and will—take care of the rest.

This article was originally published at Suite101 in January 2010.

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