Learning to Write: Tips and Tricks for Beating Writer's Block

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Author's note: This is an original post from 2014 where I discuss tips and tricks for pushing past writer's block! If you're interested in starting a blog, writing a book, or becoming a freelancer, read on to discover how you can beat writer's block quickly.


Everyone gets stuck sometimes.

There's nothing wrong with it, not really.

As a writer, you're going to have good days and bad days. You're going to have days where you don't feel like sitting at your computer, days where you do sit at your computer, and days where you feel like ripping out your hair if you have to write one more sentence of dialogue.

It's tough.

If you've been feeling tired of your characters or you simply don't know how to move your story forward, you're dealing with what most people call writer's block but that is actually just being a writer. Not everyone wants to write all of the time. It's not really writer's block. It's just not feeling like writing.

I've got a newsflash for you: not everyone likes their job all of the time.

Even if you love to write, even if you were born to write, even if writing is the only thing you've ever dreamed about, there are going to be days when you find it difficult to get  motivated.

Fortunately, I'm here to help.

I've been a paid writer for 9 years now. While it sounds like a long time, the truth is that it's really flown by. I've grown a lot as a writer and as a person. Since I started writing professionally I've gotten married, had children, finished college, published books, and even started teaching writing classes. I can't complain. I love being able to write and I love being able to use my words to influence and help others.

That doesn't mean, though, that writing always comes easy.

Even if you've been writing for nearly a decade, like I have, there are going to be difficult days. There are times when I sit at my computer and I stare at the screen, open up a Word document, close it, open it, stare at it, close it, open Netflix, close it, open the Word document, and so on. This is the best way to not be productive. The best way to start being productive? Just start writing. Here are a few tips to get you started.

1. Change your environment
Do you always sit in the same green chair while you write? I usually do. It's comfortable, cozy, and there's a little table nearby for my drinks and snacks. (This is where that "writer's weight gain" comes into play.) If you're feeling stuck, change your environment. Grab your laptop and go write at the park. Go write at the library. Heck, go write in your bedroom. Take a bath (don't bring your laptop - bring a notebook) and write in there. Your options are endless, but you could find that changing things around helps you get going.

2. Change your characters
I recently wrote a novel that took me over a year to write. For me, this is unheard of. I usually write pretty quickly, but I struggled through the entire story. Why? I hated the main character. Hated. I didn't like the name I gave her, her occupation, or her whiny attitude. I could have made things simple on myself and simply adjusted my character or switched her out for someone I could relate to, but I didn't. As a result, the finished product was weak. If you don't like a character, don't force it. Change it.

3. Change your mind
As a writer, it's easy to get into the rut of thinking that once your outline is done, it's done. The truth is that your outline can and should change if you become unhappy with it. Just because you had an idea doesn't mean that it's a good or useful idea. Don't be afraid to change how your story unfolds even once you've started writing.

4. Change your attitude
Finally, try to have a good attitude about writing. After all, you're doing an awesome thing! You're writing! You're making money living out your dream. Isn't this what you've always wanted to do? (If not, why are you trying to write something?) Instead of feeling frustrated or whining that your story isn't working, be proactive. Change something to make the story work and change your attitude. No one can make you feel better about your situation. Only you have the power to do that.

Do you ever get writer's block? How do you push past it?

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