How to Leave Writer's Block in the Past

How to Leave Writer's Block in the Past

May 23, 2022

I'm excited to talk with you today, all about how you can leave writer's block in the past. Gone. Dunzo… no more. Let's do it!

I’d like to premise this with… there will be times when we think we're stuck. Don't come into this thinking that I have, you know, the cure for you to “never be stuck again”, because that's not what this is about. This is about when those moments come up, how we deal with them and how you can move forward without feeling stuck. 

So let's do it, all right? 

Really, I only have one tip for this and it's kind of a big one and also really small. It's very simple and arguably too simple, but it works. I wanted to share it with you and basically it's “changing the scenery”. 

Change the Scenery

What does that mean? 

You can take it to mean whatever you want it to. For example, when I was feeling stuck, when I was writing The Christmas Witch, one of the things that I did, was I just got up and I left my office. I just left the room. 

I made myself a cup of tea. I basically gave myself a 5 to 15 minute reset, and I did a number of things. I made tea, or I went outside, took some deep breaths of fresh air, moved myself through a couple of yoga poses, gave myself a snack. Now, don't think this was a form of procrastination. This was me going, “Ok, I recognize I'm stuck right now. I need to do something different.” And so I did. More often than not, I wanted to go back to my writing before my little break was even over. 

I found that when I came back, when I came back and sat at the computer again, I was looking at things through new eyes, and I did not feel stuck anymore. 

Now, another way to change the scenery when you're feeling stuck, specifically in a manuscript, (doesn't matter whether it is a screenplay or a novel or novella) change the scenery physically… meaning a different scene, right? A different place in your story. 

I have to tell you, this was such a huge game changer for me when I was stuck, because we think that we have to write in a linear fashion. For some people they're really great at that, and I applaud you. You're amazing. However, sometimes we need to pull ourselves out of a specific scene. Maybe it's been grueling and we've been writing this one for a really long time. We just, we just don't want to be there anymore. 

That's when you go somewhere else. 

I found when I did this, something happened in my story that I hadn't even planned for. It was Epic, so exciting, and amazing! It never would have happened if I would've just stayed in that one place in the story, and hadn't allowed myself the freedom to write in a different area of the novel. Writing in a different scene was just amazing. 

If the weather is nice right outside, go write outside. 

I really feel like changing the scenery is how you can leave writer's block in the past, because we're never really blocked as writers. We just feel stuck. There are so many words going on in our heads, and we are trying to channel them through our fingers and put them down on paper, whether we're writing or typing. 

And that's a lot of work. It takes a lot of energy and sometimes all the ideas just kind of clash together and you hit this wall. But on the other side of the wall are other scenes, going outside, going on a drive, even taking, taking 10 minutes to draw a little doodle or paint a picture, write a letter, an email to a friend. I know it sounds silly like it's procrastinating, but it actually can make you more productive. 

When you give yourself little breaks... when you realize you're stuck or you feel stuck and you just change things up a little bit, it makes such a big difference. Another thing that I did in my little “change the scenery”, one of the times when I was feeling stuck, I stepped away from the computer, but I stayed in the office. I just kind of looked around and realized there were a handful of things that needed to be put away that I had been neglecting (because I was so focused on my writing) and so I just put them away. 

When I was done putting them away, boom. Idea. I sat down, and I was able to resume my writing. I felt so much more confident about what I was doing.

My one tip today, is to change the scenery, because there is nothing wrong with you. We all get stuck. We all have those moments and you're not blocked and there's nothing wrong with you. It may just be that you need some brain space to breathe, or you need to physically move yourself into another place just for 5 to 15 minutes. I would say, give yourself that time if you're feeling flustered and you're like, “Man, I really got to get this done.” and you want to be done in the next hour… give yourself the 5 to 15 minutes. 

I know it's a lot, but if you give yourself that time, and you come back, and you're that much more productive, you have that many more ideas, it's so worth it! You'll be able to do this over and over again. 

I hope this was helpful. And I look forward to chatting with you again soon!

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