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When Distraction Causes Writer’s Block

Writer's Block

Life seems to be putting a lot of distractions in front of us right now and one of the consequences can be writer’s block. You’re not alone. Here are some ideas to help you overcome it.

Reading Books on How to Write

This may seem counterintuitive, like I’m writing less and reading more, but reading about new writing skills motivates me to work on them. For some reason, it triggers my creativity, and I come up with new ideas. I get excited about becoming a better writer.

Here are my favorite books that helped me get over writer’s block by giving me areas to practice and try new writing techniques:

  • How to Write a Damn Good Novel, II: Advanced Techniques For Dramatic Storytelling, James N. Frey
  • Story Genius by Lisa Cron
  • Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story, K.M. Weiland
  • Take Off Your Pants by Libbie Hawker

 

Let Other Books Give You an Idea

When I started my first book, Descent, I had no idea what the story was. I only knew I wanted to write a book.  The last book I’d read opened with a woman on a bus.  I typed the following first line on page one: Kalin Thompson sat on a grimy seat at the back of a Greyhound bus.  Then I asked myself:

  1. Where was she going?
  2.  Was she alone?
  3. How was she feeling?

This scene never made it into the book, but once I started writing, I couldn’t stop. This one little sentence turned into a trilogy of published books.

 

Turn Off the News

I’m rationing how much news I watch. It’s important to know enough about what’s going on to stay safe and keep others safe, but too much scares me and then it’s all I can think about. I know it’s time to walk away from the TV when the news gets repetitive.  I also don’t watch the news right before bed. I read a good book until I’m ready for sleep. Then I drift off thinking about the story, and perhaps what I can write in my own stories instead of dreading all the things that might happen. When I wake up, writer’s block is gone!

 

Exercise

It doesn’t matter what the exercise is. Oxygen to the brain livens it up, and it’s good for your overall health.

 

Do Something You Love

My passion is Guide Dog training. When I’m working with a dog, I don’t think about anything else. Once I’m done, it’s easier to sit at my desk with a clear head and write (okay, I actually sit on the couch when I’m writing–I don’t like desks). No matter what else is going on, the dog needs to be trained every day. It gives me purpose, and makes me feel like I’m spending time on something valuable that will help another person.

I hope there’s one nugget in here that helps your write more. To me, STORY is very important for creating a happy and productive life. So, the more you write, the more STORY there is for me to read!

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Two of my favorite Fictionary guest blogs on a related topics are  Seven Drafts by author/editor Allison Williams and Six Tips to Combat Writer’s Anxiety by editor Erin Liles.

If you’d like more tips on overcoming writer’s block. check out How to Overcome Writer’s Block: 20 Helpful Tips on Reedsy.

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