May 5, 2011 at 07:00am
WORD FOR THE DAY "block" (n) 1. an obstacle or hindrance; 2. a solid mass of wood, stone, etc.; 3. a platform from which an auctioneer sells; 4. a part enclosing one or two pulleys; 5. a quantity taken as a unit; 6. a small section of a city; etc. Also, (v) to obstruct or hinder.
Use these 10 techniques for overcoming writer's block
Do you have trouble starting an important writing activity? Do you find yourself stuck midway through your writing project? This "writer's block" can be caused by distraction, perfectionism, enxiety over a deadline, stress due to life's cares, and even a lack of discipline. Sometimes, we do so much mental editing that we get nothing on the page. Here are 15 suggestions for handling writer's block.
1. Get rid of distractions. Shut the office door. Turn off the talk radio. Instead, turn on the classical, easy listening, or jazz.
2. Set up a ritual. A certain time of day, a particular musical piece you play, quiet time to clear the mind, a mug of strong coffee at hand, the desk set up "just so," whatever puts you in the right mindset for writing.
3. Write every day. Make it a habit.
4. Use visual prewriting techniques. Mind map or cluster. Gather words and ideas on a notepad in diagram form, each idea enclosed in a circle from which radiate other circles filled with words/ideas. Or, use note cards, placing a single idea on each card, rapidly, as the thoughts/words come. Then, organize the clusters or cards into a rough outline.
5. Begin with a rough outline, placed next to the computer.
6. Write with a particular person in mind. This makes focusing much easier.
7. Take a break. Go for a short walk, jog in place, or dance around the office. Or, meditate, surrounding yourself with silence.
8. Write something radically different. Write extemporaneously with a word taken from the dictionary. Write quickly about something you know well. Write a back story to a news headline. Write some bad doggerel poetry.
9. Force yourself to move on. If you're stuck on a word, use the wrong one, making a note (word choice) and highlighting it for editing.
10. Stop writing in the middle of a sentence or paragraph. Used for a long piece that you plan to continue writing at a later time. Hemmingway used this technique.
There are even more techniques used by writers, some variations of those listed above. Please share your ideas.