"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
As featured on: Pro Blogger, Men With Pens, Write to Done, Tiny Buddha, LifeHack, Technorati, Date My Pet, South 85 Literary Journal and other award-winning sites.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

3 Ways Around Writer's Block Guest Post

By: Kitty Holman

One of the biggest things that affects us freelance writers and professional bloggers is writer's block, as many of you are probably aware. All over the Internet, I've seen some crazy tips for defeating writer's block. I've read about writers who take showers when they get blocked, while others take a break and go exercise. I've even read about writers who eat chocolate and peanut butter when they can't produce. I can appreciate the novelty of some of these methods, and I bet some of them truly work; however, I insist that the worst thing a writer can do when blocked is leave the computer or writing desk.

I believe that writer's block is actually a result of a frame of mind or an attitude that sometimes writers fall into. Because of this, I think the way to get unblocked is simply to change the focus of your mind. Instead of worrying about being blocked and how to fix the block, instead worry about your writing and how you can accomplish your creative goals. Focus on the positive! Don't get up from the desk! Instead, you should work through some pre-writing exercises. These will help refocus your mind and get you writing in no time.

The following are my three favorite pre-writing exercises. They are very basic, but they get the job done:

1. Brainstorm

When I brainstorm, I really storm. I try to come up with as long a list of topic ideas as possible within five minutes of hard work. I usually brainstorm with a pen and paper, because I think the action of writing by hand helps focus my brain on the task at hand. I can't get distracted by the internet or other applications on the computer. Brainstorm should be frenzied and fast-paced. You shouldn't have time to think about your ideas; instead, you should just write as they come out. You can work on the list later, after you have had some time to think about each idea critically. For now, though, you are simply trying to create a list of blog post ideas.

2. Freewrite

Freewriting is perhaps the most useful way of getting words into a draft, and often these words form the basis of your new post. When you free write, open a new file, cover up your computer screen or turn off your monitor, and set your timer for five or ten minutes. This next step is incredibly important: write nonstop for the entire freewriting session. You must never stop moving your fingers over your keyboard. Just let whatever ideas you have about the topic in your head to come out on the page. You don't want to edit these ideas or these sentences as you write them, because you just want the momentum to let you write for as long as possible. This is the best way, I think, of breaking out of writer's block: just write!

3. Mapping

Once I have my list brainstormed, and some ideas written in my freewriting session, I can usually begin to feel the creative juices flowing for my post idea. At this point, it's helpful for me to try to visualize how my post will work out, so I turn to some mapping pre-writing. You can use mapping to build out how you think your ideas connect. Put your main topic in the center, and then draw lines out from it to the subtopics and other points you wish to make. In a way, these visualizations will help you create the different paragraphs and sections in your post.

Kitty Holman, regularly writes on the topics of nursing colleges. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: kitty.holman20@gmail.com.


  1. Jennifer Brown BanksFebruary 24, 2011 at 5:21 AM

    Thanks much, Wendy!

  2. I agree. It's sort of like hitting a plateau when you diet. You need to push through, perhaps using other approaches, such as stepping up the exercise.

    I do think that a break can help as long as we don't abandon writing altogether. And chocolate, well, it can't hurt. :) Thanks to both of you for sharing this!

  3. Jennifer Brown BanksFebruary 24, 2011 at 5:50 AM

    Thanks, Karen. Hurray for chocolate! Right?

  4. Free write? Wow, i never head of it. But this is the technique i used to create my novels! I remember when i was stuck; all i did was write, write, write and write. I wrote to get idea out. Then those ideas created a story. And now I'm editing my work. Your absolutely right. If you have writers block, just write.

  5. I'm with the free write. Not only do you get more ideas and clarification for your current project, you'll probably come up with quite a few more story ideas.

  6. @Karen L. - I love that example about the dieting plateau; I had never thought of it that way. The key is definitely to find a way up and off the plateau.

    @jonathanfigaro and marciewrites - You know, I've found the more writers I talk to, the more they use something like freewriting without calling it freewriting! And you can definitely save the freewriting session to harvest for more ideas later on, too!

    (Okay, everyone, I should confess: I totally eat chocolate/peanut butter when I'm blocked!)

    Thanks, all, for reading!

  7. Thanks for the info Kitty. Being a newer blogger, the block does present itself at times. I've never investigated ways to overcome it (and should have), so I'm glad to have found this information.

    Thank you

  8. hello jennifer/kitty
    how are you?
    thanks for sharing these tips i find that quite useful because i have the occasional writers block.i am going to focus a bit more on free writing.
    take care and enjoy the rest of the day

  9. Jennifer Brown BanksFebruary 26, 2011 at 7:49 AM

    Thanks, all, for your great comments and thoughtful feedback. We appreciate it!

  10. Some of my favorite posts have come from free-writing. I'll be sitting there at the computer with no direction and no plan of action and I just let my keyboard take me wherever its gonna go.

  11. Whenever I have "writersblock" I instinctively want to get up and leave the computer. But I force myself to stay. I do as you suggest, "brainstorm" or "free write". Some of my best work has come from "free write".

    Good ideas!

  12. Waning Woman,

    Good points. I especially find this to be true with my poetry.

  13. Yvonne,

    Thanks for sharing! Stay the course. :-)

  14. B/T/W

    My apologies folks, due to tech difficulties, I have not been able to post or respond to comments for the last few days. But I believe that the problem has been identified and rectified, (for the time being). :-)
    Thanks for your patience and continued support! A special shout-out to my new followers--great to have you here!

    Chime in when you feel so inclined. :-)

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