Do you have any tips for dealing with writer’s block?

Posted on November 7, 2007


I am in the process of writing a middle grade novel. I got about halfway through it while my kids were in school last year. But then I didn’t have much time to work on it over the summer. I was hoping that I could finish it when they went back to school but I’m having trouble getting back into it. I’m afraid I have writer’s block. Do you have any tips for dealing with this dilemma?

I have always felt that writers who are also moms have a particularly hard time staying focused. Mainly because I am a mom, a grand-mom, and a writer! Multi-tasking is a big part of our lives. Our work time is fragmented by the demands of changing schedules around us, and umpteen chores and errands. Writing fiction is challenging and time consuming work. Once it took me an entire day to find one right word in the sentence of a picture book manuscript.

Our writing can be too easily pushed aside in the reality of our daily lives. There are many causes for writer’s block. In your case I think you need to find a block of time that works best for you and your family, no matter the season, whether the kids are in school or not. Take Control of Your Time! by Kelle Campbell, is an excellent article for busy moms like you. She outlines effective steps you can take to better manage your time. 

If you don’t have an office space, create one for yourself. Don’t work at the kitchen table. Go to your own space every day at the appointed time and work. If at first you have trouble working on the manuscript, take some time to re-read and edit what you have written so far. Perhaps that will inspire you to continue. Sometimes when a novel writer gets stuck in the middle of a manuscript it can mean she is headed in the wrong direction with one of the characters, or the story itself.

Do some writing exercises that relate to your novel. Write an interview with your main character. Write a chapter-by-chapter synopsis to make sure the plot is going in the right direction.

Family life, illness, or personal problems can take their toll on the writing process. Take stock of your life and health. Maybe there’s a problem you’re not dealing with. Or perhaps you just need a little exercise. A half-hour walk or bike ride can do wonders for breaking writer’s block. If none of the above seems to help, take a class. Writing classes, acting classes, or art classes can all stimulate creativity. Self-hypnosis and meditation are also effective ways of dealing with writer’s block.

David Taylor’s four-part series on Fighting Writer’s Block deals with the causes and solutions to help you break your writer’s block. In her article Writer’s Block: Is It All In Your Head?, Leslie What analyzes the causes and treatments for writer’s block, including good advice from fellow writers.

A new website, Hit Those Keys lets everyone have some fun with writer’s block. This is a user friendly site with useful tips on how to get unblocked and get writing.  Click on “’tips” button under Words for solid suggestions to get you back on track.

Click here to add Advice from a Caterpillar to your RSS reader.