How to Overcome Writer’s Block
You’ve been staring at that blank page on your screen for almost 30-minutes. In fact, you didn’t expect writing a book to be this difficult. Your dream of becoming an author and positioning yourself as an expert in your field seems so far out of reach. The blank page can often seem a difficult foe to overcome. This is because of a wonderful thing called resistance. It’s that feeling of tension between taking action and staying where you are. Everyone, no matter what goal they set will have to overcome resistance. The interesting thing about resistance is, the longer you put off taking action, the greater the resistance you will experience.
Do you wonder how other authors manage to get words out of their head and onto the page?
Do you want to know their secrets?
This is exactly what I am going to share with you in this blog post, four ways to overcome writer’s block and banish it for good.
Give Yourself Permission
Before I discuss how to overcome writer’s block I have something important to share with you. I want you to give yourself room to write a crappy first draft. Don’t expect to create a masterpiece worthy of a Booker prize. Your first draft is a foundation, a springboard for you to create your non-fiction book. So, don’t stress if the words don’t eloquently flow or if your thoughts seem a little disjointed. The editing and revision process is where your writing is perfected not in the first draft.
Plan the Content of Your Writing Sessions
One of the reasons why a blank page can be so terrifying is you don’t know what you should be writing. The key to overcoming the blank page is to plan out what you want to write in advance. I’m going to assume that you’ve created an outline for your non-fiction book, if not, go back and do this.
It’s important that before you put your fingers on the keyboard, you decide what you’re going to write. So, pull out your outline and choose the section of your non-fiction book you’re going to write. Take a few moments to write down all the key points you need to include in this section. If you’re not sure, pull out your notes or do a bit of research. Research is an important part of the writing process. It makes the writing of your first draft easier. Once you have a clear idea of what you want to write in your current writing session, it’s time to start writing. Repeat this process every time you write a section of your non-fiction book. This will help you to defeat that blank page and as a result, overcome writer’s block.
Keep Your Creative Well Full
I have a few important questions to ask you. What is your, create versus consume ratio? Do you ever wonder how some writers never seem to run out of ideas or rarely experience writer’s block? In order to overcome writer’s block and have a steady flow of ideas, you need to be consuming more than you create. I’ve had to learn this lesson the hard way. In those moments, where I’ve felt like I’ve run out of ideas have been when I either stopped or wasn’t consuming enough content. If you’re not consuming enough content, you’ll feel like you’re drawing water from an empty well. I know this seems like one more thing you need to do, but I still recommend consuming a lot of content.
So, what does this mean for those who are time-poor? How do you find the time to consume enough content to generate ideas for your writing endeavours? For me the answer is simple, I make better use of my downtime. Consider the amount of downtime you’re currently not putting to good use and the types of content you like to consume. Is there a way you can consume these types of content during your downtime? If you love reading, you might want to consider listening to an audiobook or a podcast, while doing the dishes, ironing, or even while you shower. Choose types of content that fit into your lifestyle and make it easier for you, and not harder.
Set a Word Count
In previous articles, I discussed setting weekly word count goals. This is something I still recommend focusing on, to help you overcome writer’s block. It’s sometimes easier to have a word count goal for the session. The reason why I suggest this is when you set a word count goal for your current writing session you’re no longer writing an infinite amount of words. Suddenly, what seems impossible is now possible. If your weekly word count is 7,500 words and you want to write six days a week, every week for a month. In one month you’ll to end up with a first draft, of 30,000 words. As a result, your daily word count is 1,250. The next step I take with setting word count goals is to calculate how many words to write for each point of my section outline.
Introduction: 200 words
1st Key Point: 300 words
2nd Key Point: 300 words
3rd Key Point 3: 300 words
Conclusion: 150 words
I’ve found that by doing this breakdown has helped me to stick to my section outline, achieve my word count goals, and overcome writer’s block. The reason why this works is that this step brings clarity. The wonderful thing about clarity is, the more clarity you have, the easier it will be to write. It’s almost like lighting a candle in a dark room.
As I write this blog post, I’m currently completing a 28-Days of Blogging challenge. This means I’m writing blog posts every day for my indie writing life blog, sometimes I writing multiple blog posts in a day, to be ahead of schedule. How do I stay on top of all of this writing? I use a timer for each step of the writing process. I allow myself 30-minutes to research, outline and set a word count for the blog post. A further hour to write my first draft, another 30-minutes to edit my first draft and re-write. This is essentially a productivity hack which can apply to writing a non-fiction book as well. When you set a timer, you’ve created a deadline. This deadline can often become all the motivation you need to overcome writer’s block. Start with smaller increments of time to complete smaller tasks and work your way up from there.
It’s important to note these tips are designed to complement each other and work together. You might want to consider, planning your content, setting word count goals, and setting a timer every time you write. This layering effect will increase your chances of overcoming writer’s block for good.
As always, I have an important question to ask you. Are you suffering from writer’s block as you write your non-fiction book? Once you try out these tips, let me know if the tips worked for you. I want to hear from you. Let me know by sharing your story in the comments box below.
Thank you for listening, reading, commenting and sharing with such enthusiasm.
I’m Amelia. I write Mystery Novels under the pen name A. D. Hay. And, I’m the author of Missing, the first book in the James Lalonde series. On this blog, I help new writers to finish their first draft, prepare their manuscripts for professional editing, and when they get stuck in the first draft phase or are confused about the revision process. Right now, I’m editing and preparing my soon to be published mystery novels, Duplicity, 24 Hours, and Immunity for publication.