It happens to anyone who writes. For those who earn a living or simply one who writes simply because it’s something that they love to do. Like a octopus it seems like it will never let go once it’s locked on, and like a shark it’s ready to attack when you least expect it.

This voracious denizen of destruction and no little annoyance is called Writer’s Block! (WB)

Yeah that thing that rears it’s head when you least need it to, especially when you’re approaching a deadline. Often you’re writing merrily along not a care in the world and then                    !

That’s right,                 !

______ at all!

Nothing at all!

If you have notes they suddenly look like they’re written in Klingon, your imagination feels like a boring bomb just went off. This is entirely not like you, yet it happens to each and every one of us. And if it hasn’t…just you wait.

So here’s a few handy things you can do when beset by the dreaded WB blues.

  1. Do NOT Panic. Seriously don’t, panic gets you nowhere other than all the more frustrated that you are suffering from or through WB. Also if you are on a timeline you cannot afford to panic, if things have to be delivered to a schedule panic will just make things worse. You have to sit back and look at things objectively, contact the people who are waiting for your work and make sure they know what’s going on.
  2. Do Anything Else. Back off from writing if you have to, go for a walk, call a loved one, tweet your fingers off. See a movie, walk the dog, eat a tub of ice cream, say hello to your significant other (do this often even when not suffering from WB) distance yourself from the project on which you are at a standstill. Do something relaxing like drinking a mug of Hot Chocolate with mini-marshmallows in it. We really just want to calm ourselves.
  3. Seek Help. You can seek help from anyone, but if you confer with a potted plan we are going to have words. Odds are that as a writer you have other writers on your friends list, just talking about the issue with them on the phone or via TXT or IM could be enough to release the logjam. You don’t have to even discuss writing, amazing I know! Commiserate over the Lakers early exit from the playoffs or just how much more the 49ers are going to kick ass come football season. Don’t bottle up your WB, let people know. “My name is Ross and I have Writer’s  Block.” “HI ROSS!”
  4. Write Something Different. This always seems to help for me so I recommend that if you’re stuck in the writing doldrums to write something new. Full points if you try to write something far out from your comfort zone. Write a outline for a new story, a new world with new characters with new hopes and dreams. Just writing something can eventually lead to clarity on the project besieged by WB.
  5. Listen To Music. Put on your headphones or ear-buds and listen to music. Odds are you probably have a large collection of music, digital, physical or both. Look for something that you haven’t listened to for awhile and cue it up, savor that music as if you were hearing it for the first time. I also recommend listening to music while actually working on your writing, let the pulse of the music also drive your writing, heighten your drama and suspense kindle the romance. Personally I tend to think of writing as a composition, each sentence forms a musical phrase and all the phrases combined form a visual soundtrack.
  6. Read A Good Book. Reading a good book can really take the pressure off the mind. Can really allow you to release the horrible WB situation you’ve found yourself in. Pick up a favorite, Mayday by Nelson DeMille and Thomas Block is my go to book at the moment, and get lost in that world for awhile. Your mind can sometimes just rebel against you, your thoughts in turmoil because you put them under too much pressure. Reading a good book gives your mind a rest and lets your imagination soar.
  7. Return To Your Story. After a while open that story, article, screenplay or manuscript back up and continue to write. These things can take time to recover from but eventually you will find the words flowing again. You will be able to continue the story that had been brought to a grinding halt. There is always an end to Writer’s  Block just as certainly as it will eventually begin again.

The next time you come face to face with Writer’s  Block remember these tips and hopefully some of them will work for you.

Ross Out.