Improving Productivity – Dealing with Creative Block, Part 2

You’ve had a week to work on the first five tips on dealing with creative block. Did you try any of them? If you, how did they work for you? If nothing else, I hope my ideas stimulated some ideas of your own. Dealing with writer’s block is as personal as the writer’s block itself.

This week, I’d like to share five more tips for dealing with writer’s block.

Go for a walk. Or just go outside and sit on the porch or balcony or wherever you can get some fresh air.

Make sure to take something to write with or a recorder so you can record thoughts because this is almost guaranteed to generate something.

Do something meaningless. I need to explain this one because nothing that is created is ever truly meaningless. I keep a daily journal. If it’s not geared toward a particular story, I write all kinds of things it. Descriptions of the weather. Descriptions of how my day is going. I even once spent one day writing nothing but opening lines (and some of them are really goofy … “It was a dark and stormy night” is how that page started).

I’ve also spent a day’s writing exercise writing first paragraphs. The next thing on my list is closing lines.

Character names are a good way to get started. Pick a name. What’s that person like? Do you hear dialogue or see a gesture or expression? Describe it!

Describe the place where you are. That sounds simple, but it works wonders. It’s like an artist sketching from life.

Step out on your front porch and describe the scene.

Write about the people or things you see.

Do you see only cows? What are they doing? What color is the sky?

What about the chair you’re sitting in. What’s that room like? What’s going on in it?

You can set a time limit or a page limit or you can write until there’s nothing more to say. Just as long as you are writing.

Dialogue with your characters. When your Lead does something that makes you ask “What in the world were you thinking?”, what do you do? Can’t figure out why he behaves that way? Wonder what’s making her tick?

Why not just ask them?

I have sat down and engaged a lead character or two in a conversation. The most recent instance happened a few weeks ago and was an actual dialogue. I wrote it as though two characters were conversing, but my Lead was one of the people involved and I was the other.

Another time, my Lead just sat me down and told me the way things were.

I know that sounds like one of “those weird writer things”, but both occasions sparked a batch of writing that continued for days, so if nothing else, they got me past the creative block.

Take a Look Inside What are your biggest dreams? What are your worst fears? Write them down. Combine them. Do any possibilities come to mind?

One of my fears used to be getting fired (I’ve gotten over that).

Another fear is of losing everything in a house fire.

What would my Lead do if he lost his job? Up the ante. What would he do if he lost his job and got home to find out his home was going up in smoke?

Write about it.


There are a number of other good suggestions that didn’t make my list in this post or the previous post. I know you probably have some very good tips and tricks to get yourself off dead center when you encounter creative block. What works best for you?

Read Part One!

Improving Productivity – Dealing with Creative Block, Part 1

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