How to Generate Ideas: The Writer’s Battle Plan Against Writer’s Block

Posted on July 21, 2013


The enemy: writers’ block. It’s that moment when the creative juices dry up; your creative muse goes mute. You hammer out pages of words on your keyboard only to hate and delete them all. Or you avoid even looking at your computer screen because the blinking cursor taunts you. You could have written 165 pages of material and be halfway to the finish line, or you may have written one sentence. It can strike at any time. This is why every writer needs a good battle plan.Writer’s-Block

  • Tactic #1: Change your self-defeating attitude. The biggest hang-up for writers when they face writers’ block is the belief that they can’t write anymore. “Can’t” is a powerful word that breeds discouragement and a sense of failure. Don’t ever believe the lie writers’ block is telling you, that you can’t write. You might not be writing as well; you may not be a powerhouse of ideas right now—but you can write. Shake off this negative attitude immediately. If you let your enemy get into your head, you’re fighting a losing battle.
  • Tactic #2: Write anyway. Your enemy doesn’t want you to write. Sometimes the best method to defeat it is to go on the offense. Ignore the fact that you’re not sure of what you’re about to write or how you’re going to put it. Just sit down and let the words come out: jumbled, rambling, confused, and awkward as they may be. The more you write, the more material you have to work with later. It’ll be easier to cut your writing down than to add more later during the editing process.
  • Tactic #3: Focus on the end goal of victory, not your methods. What do I mean by this? Well, your main struggle with writers’ block is often simply the fact that you are not producing any work…at all. Poor quality writing is still writing, and that’s still progress. Often writers who start out writing “bad quality” work when they’re suffering writers’ block, yet continue to push through, find as they progress that they’re writing quality improves again quickly. Therefore, focus on the end goal of the battle: writing. How you get there in the meantime—with run-on sentences, garbled ideas, a few clichés—isn’t as important. Nip any tendencies toward perfectionism in the bud, because the biggest part of being a writer is revision. As you’re typing up your first draft, give yourself permission to write with abandon and without worry about whether or not it “sounds good.” You’ll come back to it later.
  • Tactic #4: Focus on something else. Writers’ block is an enemy that can become huge and overwhelming. Take it by surprise with a sneak attack and do just what it doesn’t suspect—go along with it and take that break from writing! After all, if you’re wracking your brain for ideas, that’s probably just what you need. Focusing too much on your project can increase tension and stress. If you tell yourself, “I have to come up with an idea,” you’re only going to pressure yourself more. These conditions aren’t usually conducive to a creative mindset. Realize it’s OK to relax for a few moments and do something else besides stare at your computer screen. Inspiration rarely comes from a blinking cursor; it comes from the world around you. Take the time to get out there- go for a walk, run those errands you’ve been meaning to do, start dinner, or call a friend- and you’ll be surprised, once you let your mind wander to other topics, how quickly an idea will strike you.
  • Tactic #5: Be persistent and prepared. The only way to go into battle is to go in with a plan and with determination. There will be ups and downs, but if you persist and decide that you want to come out on top, you will. If you anticipate obstacles and struggles before they occur, you can have ways in mind to tackle them so that when you stumble across them you aren’t blindsided. Knowing how to manage writers’ block will give you confidence. Keep this plan by your side; talk to peers or research ways other writers combat writers’ block. Find other ways you discover inspiration or find motivation to write and make a list for those days you really need a little help. And then make time to write persistently. If you write often, on good and bad days, you’ll find it harder to get into a rut, because it’ll be habit to simply continue to go at it!

So, now that you have a battle plan, remember that you have nothing to fear from your enemy. Writers’ block can be brutal, but it can be defeated. Don’t let it shake your confidence or steal your joy as a writer. If you persist in your writing, you can conquer writers’ block every time.

Rachel Schade, Editor, Writer,and Publishing Coordinator, Asta Publications

Asta Publications has a long history of helping writers tell their stories and get published. Since 2004, Asta Publications has helped hundreds of authors bring their book concepts to life and we are ready to help you too! Our dedication to our authors is unmatched. We deliver first-class products and services that are accurate, high quality, and exceed our authors’ expectations.

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