Happy holidays from the team at Author Basics

Writer’s block. It happens to all of us eventually, even though lately, you’ve probably seen around the interwebs that writer’s block is all in your head…!

Well, if you were to get inside my head, you’d understand why I’ve got writer’s block! 🙂

And while I agree to a certain degree that writer’s block can sometimes be a convenient excuse, there are times where a blank page and a blinking cursor is all you’ve achieved for the day.

Now whether you call that writer’s block or Neville’s (the name I’ve assigned my inner know-it-all, uh I mean inner voice…) up to his usual tricks again, is besides the point.

If you’ve got a blank page and no words are forthcoming, what the heck are you gonna do about it?

Using Freewriting to Get Unblocked

Personally, I’ve found the quickest way to get some words on the page is to switch to freewriting. This means just sitting at your computer or grabbing your journal and a pen and writing whatever comes into your head. Which means you have to tell Neville to shut-up while you just sit there and write.

Now, it’s quite likely that your freewriting is going to look like garbage. Sure, there will also be some nuggets of gold, but for the most part, as Neville will politely inform you, most of it will not make sense and will be just for your eyes only.

Here’s what that might look like:

Using freewriting to get rid of writer's block

Honestly, the amount of times I have had to do some freewriting in the past few months to get past Neville’s incessant whining and ‘helpful’ comments is somewhere in the hundreds right now.

Life can be challenging at times, and that’s often when I find a blank page and blinking cursor mock me the most. Avoid this by freewriting, if only for your own sanity!

Writing Prompts

Writing prompts are another way to get your creative juices flowing, particularly if you’re just starting out as an author. Maybe you’ve decided you want to write fiction (like me) and to exercise that fiction creation muscle, the best way is to start writing mini-stories on a daily basis.

That is my ‘homework’ for the next few weeks as I prepare to write a fiction series with Steve, among other things (ie, read the entire Nine Day Novel series again!).

Here’s some of the writing prompts I’ve been using:

Note to all non-fiction writers: you’ll be amazed at how helpful these are for your own writing as well, so I encourage you to give them a shot too!

  1. Generosity, first seen on Medium.com
  2. “When I got home that night, I noticed the smiling jack-o-lantern in my front yard was crushed” <– continue the sentence, writing no more than 5 paragraphs.
  3. Follow this reddit for some great ideas: https://www.reddit.com/r/WritingPrompts/
  4. “The office building seemed normal enough. You shrug off the feeling of dread as you enter the doors. There’s no receptionist. Simply two doors. One is green, the other orange. Which do you take? Why are you there? What happens next?” <– write no more than 500 words. Found on www.writersdigest.com
  5. This is where I’m getting a lot of inspiration from right now: http://awesomewritingprompts.tumblr.com/
  6. “He’d never noticed a door there before.”
  7. List 10 things you do whenever you procrastinate. First seen on http://creativewritingprompts.com/

Interestingly, I’m using Evernote to write all of these in rather than Scrivener. I’m not sure why, but I just feel that my freewriting belongs in Evernote, but my publishable stuff goes into Scrivener… who know’s, some of this stuff may make its way into Scrivener yet!

How do you handle your version of a blank page and blinking cursor? Tell us in the comments or let us know in the private Facebook group!

Lise Cartwright