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Get a Grip on that Writer's Block

Roy A Barnes - All Rights Reserved


When authors can’t find any new ideas to write about or are stuck in the middle of their manuscripts, the feeling is one of being mired in creative quicksand. This condition can be remedied expediently if you will apply the tips I have implemented to navigate myself quickly through the valley of the shadow of writer’s block:

RESEARCH MARKETS: I strive to follow this rule: "If I am not writing, then I need to be researching markets, and if I am not researching markets, then I had better be writing." Oftentimes, I come across new ideas to write about because I spend some time daily checking the market listings of newsletters and databases. The way editors craft their market listings varies from publication to publication, so you will eventually come upon a market listing that will reignite your creativity.

WRITE AT A COLLEGE LIBRARY: If you normally write at home, seek out your closest college library to put an end to that writer’s block. There is an ambiance of creativity and intellectual pursuit in these places of higher learning. Most college libraries allow any local resident the opportunity to use many of their facilities for free.

LISTEN TO YOUR FAVORITE MUSIC: Get works from your personal collection and crank it up to your desired decibel level. Don’t listen to the radio, where you often have to wait for your favorite tunes to come on while being barraged with endless commercials and the same current hits being played every two hours. A flow of quality music has this special way of bringing deep emotions to the surface. It is when we tap into our feelings that new ideas and our best writing will emerge.

TAKE SOME TIME OFF FROM WRITING: Give yourself a break from attempting to produce something. Take a day, weekend, or a longer amount of time off. If you can, leave town for awhile. I come back from my journeys ready to write with a new sense of purpose. One’s writing is best when it’s done with interest and from the heart. The writing profession should not imitate the role of Inspector #48 on some assembly line. Furthermore, apply for all the press trips you can that are in your area or beyond. Going to these events will result in more writing ideas, as well as networking opportunities with other scribes who may help you find some good tonics for treating writer’s block.

WATCH WRITING-THEMED MOVIES: When I see my profession showcased on the silver screen, I’m able to identify with the characters portraying writers because they are often going through the positive and not-so positive issues onscreen that I go through in reality. Two of my favorite movies about writing are REDS, a 3 hour-plus epic about writers during the time of the Russian Revolution in the early 1900’s. My other favorite movie with a writing theme is called THE SHINING. This movie, if nothing else, will scare you out of your writer’s block! I mean, you’ll realize what real writer’s block is after you witness Wendy Torrance peeking at her husband’s manuscript that chillingly reads "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" typed over and over, page after page!

When you really think about it, writer’s block has some messages for you: It’s to let go of having to have a new idea in every waking moment; to go out and explore the world around you; and to get into touch with your inner self, where the real ground zero of your profession resides!



Roy A. Barnes writes from the windy plains of southeastern Wyoming USA. Besides Writer2Writer, his writing-themed articles have appeared at suchpublications like The Fabulist Flash, The Busy Freelancer, The InkSpotter News, Absolute Write, and Writing for DOLLARS. His poetry and prose have been featured at such mediums as C/Oasis, Poesia, e-clips, Breath & Shadow, Skive Magazine, and The First Line.


         Last updated: February 19, 2007