Help, My Writing Is Broken! (Or, How to Deal with Writer’s Block)

WritersdontcryBlankpageEvery once and a while, when a writer sits down to write, nothing comes out. Like—nothing. All right, the writer will tell themselves, I’m a grown-up, I can make this happen. So the writer swallows down the fear starting to build in their throat and slaps words onto the page with a fearlessness that dares the writing to just try and suck. And if it doesn’t suck? Congratulations! You wrote your way out of writer’s block! That is both awesome and awe-inspiring.

But if it does suck? Like, badly? Don’t hyperventilate just yet; writer’s block isn’t permanent (usually, anyway). It’s a totally normal phenomenon many professional writers experience at least once per novel (and twice during outlines). And even though almost everyone has at least a tiny part of them that is afraid the writing will never, ever come back—it always does, in the end. Even if it takes its own sweet time.

Of course, that’s just dandy when you need to be brilliant on a deadline. Dandy and completely impractical. So, for those of you on deadlines and at your wit’s end, here is a three-step solution attempt, geared at helping you find the source of your discontent and getting you back into writing mode pronto.

Step 1: Did You Leave Your Critical Side On?

Here are some signs that you may have left your critical side on:

  1. You have a hard time reading books you normally enjoy. You’re either restless or it just doesn’t grab you the way it normally does.
  2. Every word you write feels mechanical and forced, and when you read them? You have to restrain your fingers from instinctively deleting them.
  3. You’re not so sure your idea is a good one anymore. In fact, you can’t believe anyone ever said they liked your idea.
  4. The writing you did earlier you either hate and can’t believe you ever thought it was good, or love, and are worried sick you’re going to mess it up.
  5. You just can’t seem to visualize the scene you’re about to write. Your brain keeps missing the idea and catching on the words.

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