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Literature Basics

    Ever feel like no matter what you do, you just. can't. write?

    You're not alone. Many other writers have been in the same situation, left frustrated and exhausted trying to get through this. But what can you do about it?

What is Writer's Block?

    According to wikipedia 
"Writer's block is a condition, primarily associated with writing, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work. The condition ranges in difficulty from coming up with original ideas to being unable to produce work for years.

Steps to Overcoming Writers Block

  1. Quit. At least for now, take a step back and breathe. The more you struggle the more worked up you become and the worse the block seems to get. Before anything else, give your mind a break for a bit and come back. Sometimes that's all you even need to do. Remember, your mind, just like your body needs rest.
  2. Disconnect & Organize. Clean up your writing space, close the tabs on your computer, turn off your phone and wi-fi. Get your area set so you can focus on your writing without clutter and distraction so you can keep your focus solely on writing.
  3. Try Something New. I understand you're on the 15th chapter of that novel you dream to publish, but since any writing you may be getting out really isn't that good, set it on the back burner and try something new. A different story, genre, style, theme... just do something new and different.
  4. Explore. A lot of people have their "writing spot", where they're comfortable and have the peace to get things done. Since that's not working for you right now, it's time to change your surroundings; take a notebook and go somewhere else. Explore the world around you for inspiration; Go for a walk, to the park, the coffee house, the bookstore, go to mars. Go somewhere, anywhere.
  5. Plot Away. So the story your writing isn't working out, but you've got ideas bouncing around in your head like it's an intense game of pingpong. Write them down and outline the story. Get an idea of what you want in it, how you want it to go, etc. and get it all down. Sometimes once you look at it all on paper the ideas just start flowing like an avalanche again.
  6. Prompts. And you thought I forgot this one? Prompts are a hit or miss. Some people snap out of writer's block with prompts, workshops and such, some people don't. You'll never know until you try. There's plenty of prompts on dA alone, then you have the entire internet as well. Give them a shot and see what happens.
  7. Just do it. Just write, even if it's complete and utter s#!*, write it anyways. Get your mind flowing, ideas rushing and sometimes that's enough to snap yourself out of it. Free writing can help jog your mind, creativity and kick this block in the face.

How Writer's Block Can Actually Help You

    While you may be looking at this as the end of writing, wondering if you'll even be able to produce a shopping list this week - sometimes it can help. Overcoming writers block by breaking your routine can help challenge you and bring your focus to other points and areas of literature. 
    If you experiment, try new things and change your surroundings; you may find yourself adding to and/or improving your style.
    One of the main ways to prevent writer's block is to have a routine or schedule. For example "write every morning for 15 minutes" or "go somewhere on Tuesdays and Thursdays to write". By putting this forth to reduce/eliminate writer's block, you're also disciplining and training yourself to be a better writer.

Reader Questions

  • Have you ever suffered from writer's block? If so, how did you over come it?
  • Do you have a "system" or "plan" on how to prevent and/or overcome writer's block?
  • Have you ever noticed anything specific that leads to your writer's block?

Most of us have experienced this in one way or another - the dreaded writer's block!
Add a Comment:
Lady-Yume Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2014   Writer
Been meaning to drop a line on this - thanks so much for sharing this (also through the Glory Be Project!) - brilliant tips :thumbsup:

I-am-the-wanderer Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2014
Writer's block is, in a word, painful. It's annoying, it's unsettling, and it can totally ruin your confidence.

I'm still working through a bit myself, and it is AWFUL some days, but I also know it's necessary. I try to remind myself that I'm learning as much in overcoming my block as I learn in writing itself, and that it WILL END.

I think the end is a really important part that's easy to forget about.

P.S. In my mind, the single greatest representation of a creative block ever is Miyazaki's Kiki's Delivery Service. Nearly all my life wisdom about blocks comes from it. :D
vespera Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
:thumbsup: :thumbsup:
Diamonds-Dont-Shine Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I write poems and I have to say that I am experiencing a writers block right now. Everything I write sounds stupid, etc.
My plan is to first rest a bit and when I am fully charged again I am going to a place with a lot of constant background noise/sound and start writing again
amour-raven Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014  Student Writer
Love the gifs. :heart:

Anywho, I seem to suffer from PWB...sometimes; that's Perpetual Writer's Block (I'm sure I just made that up). I guess I get caught up in life and avoid writing until I get slammed with a freight train of inspiration. A kiss, a crush, a movie, an idea, or a dream! I believe that if I love the mental prompt enough that I am going to write the hell out of it!
Schwannie Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014
Whenever I get writer's block, I would usually just jump on my bed and draw. Whenever I draw, I would draw scenes, etc. No matter how suckish the drawing is, at least I get some plot idea ;P I get writer's block whenever I write 'too much'. I write every plot I know till there's none left in my mind :P
lilis-gallery Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Writer's block is very real indeed, and we all hate it... I had a really long one a couple of months ago, I couldn't write anything decent for weeks. What I did to overcome it was, I took a complete break from my novel-in-progress for a month or so, and then I re-read everything I'd written from the very beginning, trying to forget I had written it - trying to read it as if it were someone else's work. It gave me a whole new point of view on my story, and when I was done reading, I immediately started writing again. :)

I think what leads to my writer's block is that I tend to work too much without ever taking a break, re-reading what I've written, etc. It's important to take a step back sometimes, and look at your work more objectively after a short (or a long) pause.
ArtByCher Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2014   Traditional Artist
I used to write many years ago. It IS very real :nod:
OctopusGames Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2014
What works for me is sitting anywhere there is background noise and chatter, like in or near a mall food court, a parking lot, what have you. My favorite was parking outside a gun range and taking notes. Those instant sound breaks gave me many ideas.
YanaHiro Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2014   Traditional Artist
question#1-Writer's block is the worst thing to happen to a writer, so I did step one-quit!

#2-Sometimes, ideas just will pop in my head when I'm not doing anything busy, and I see them as opportunities for the story. 
MenelausII Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2014
I'm an amateur writer, been writing fanfiction with mixed in original stories for 4 years now and yes i get writers block. Normally I will just get burned out writing the same type of thing and then i switch it up, try something new (that is mostly when i take stabs at poetry)

Recently though i went through i bout of writers block that last about six months. I'm pretty sure it came about because i went through a really unhappy and unstable part of my life and now that the worst of that has past i've found my muse has returned.    
Cosmic-Brownie Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Writer's block plagues both myself and my mom. With her, she just can't find the words to express what she wants. With me, however, I'll plot out a story in my head... and just not have any filler what so ever. No ideas of conversations, or actions the characters take. That, and, I'll have a beginning and an end, but I can never figure out the stuff that happens in between. It's really frustrating sometimes.
Minamotosanada Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Writer's block is a disease for which there is no cure only respite.  I suffer from writer's block too often.  I find just starting to write works after all.... "If you haven't got an idea, start a story anyway. You can always throw it away, and maybe by the time you get to the fourth page you will have an idea, and you'll only have to throw away the first three pages."
William Campbell Gault
RianNoodlton Featured By Owner Edited Jul 26, 2014
I always come up with a story and well get to about chapter 6 (short chapters) and will have the ending planned out but no middle. One day I went on a random sentence generator and started to write and wrote a really short story (… ) but then realized that short stories are my thing!
efoshee Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Great story Rian :) Short stories are my specialty as well.
RianNoodlton Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2014
You liked the one so you may want to check out my other ones too :)
Forever---Free Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2014  Student Writer
I'm a student writer, so I do come across writer's block quite often.

How I normally over come it:
1) Daydreaming. Believe it or not, this does help me.
2) My little fantasies. Sometimes things come to me when I'm lost in my dirty little mind.
3) Music. I often listen to the radio, and I get ideas off of the songs, their lyrics or beats.
RianNoodlton Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2014
Daydreaming works. I was in the car and literally mapped out this entire story. I always think in the car or just look out the window. But one time out of many this story came.…
Amatelaseu Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2014  Student Digital Artist
1. Yes, I currently have it, and it is terrible. Just finishing a paragraph has become a chore.

2. Usually visiting nature or places I normally wouldn't go to. Sometimes even a dream can get me writing a chapter.

3.  Many things. It can be the lack of people reading your story or the pressure of having readers anticipate the next chapter, cause then it has to be perfect. I'm a huge perfectionist, so if even one part is wrong, I get irritated. I find there's too many more ways to get writer's block, and not nearly enough ways to cure it.
Rainwhisker101 Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Oooh, I've had Writer's Block before. I still don't have a solution, as it started about a week ago, but I'm going to try some of your suggestions. If they work, THANK YOU!!! If not, then I'll keep trying...
But you know what? Life's a beach. Enjoy the sunny weather.=)
tarosi Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2014
as a poet I run into it all the time. sometimes it's putting to much pressure on yourself. never write when it's forced. put it down and come back to it. get out of your surroundings. go for a walk & take a tablet.. look at your surroundings as in nature. or find something that's interesting. a bridge, mountain point, rock formation. then write about it later.
 remember old stories handed down from the family. remember your family gatherings. remember your times with your friends in the past. listen to your favorite music and say what it means to you. look at things out of the box...from the different perspective
SedahLiah Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2014   Writer
I've found that a good way to cure writer's block is to write about it. Elaborate upon the emotional state of not being able to write, or feeling like what you write isn't good enough, and explore the dark cloud of "writer's block" with metaphors and allusions and fancy imagery.
efoshee Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
That's a great idea SedaLiah!! I think I will try that next time I run into trouble. :)
Sorrowscoldfrost Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2014
I'm actually going through writer's block right now, so this is quite helpful to see.
Geak-of-Nature Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
OMG, I never get writer's block, and I don't think I ever will.  I've got so much inner dialog, it's like, um, er, ...

Oh darn, I can't think of what comes next.... ;)
The-Wandering-Fairy Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
  • Have you ever suffered from writer's block? If so, how did you over come it?

  • Yes, all the time. I'll get an awesome idea and I'll be all like "Ooooh, this should be a story!" Then, after one chapter, I forget about it. :T

  • Do you have a "system" or "plan" on how to prevent and/or overcome writer's block?

  • Have you ever noticed anything specific that leads to your writer's block? 

  • My doubting that the people reading will like my story. Or if people will read it at all.
efoshee Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Hi TWF, someone once told me this and maybe it will help you with your block.

"If you write to please other people, then you are not writing for yourself and that makes it a chore. If you write to please yourself, then that makes it a pleasure. So write to please yourself first."

You can always go back and edit stuff. Trust me, people will read what you write :)

Don't expect everyone to like what you write. Not everyone likes what I write but all I care about is that I wrote it, and that I think it looks good, and I got it out there for the world to see. I've also gotten plenty of compliments on my work. You'll be pleasantly surprised I think when people start complimenting your work as well. All you've got to do is give it a try right?
:) Good luck!
The-Wandering-Fairy Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for that. :) And I always try to remind myself that I should write for myself, rather than other people--because, if I like something, chances are that other people will, too.
Lpswolfy Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Third Question Answer:

When I was in school I wrote almost daily; for fun and for school work. However, when school ended, I faced a huge writers block. I had prompts and ideas written down, but I had absolutely no idea how to start on them and what words to use. I felt like my mind was going to explode when I sat there for hours!
TheseKrimzonFlames Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2014
I've never had writer's block, not one time in my life. I'm inspired by everything, I don't force the words, they just come when it's their time.
RicardoCarmine Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
'turn off your phone and wi-fi.'

this is the best advice ever, if you disconnect yourself from reality and distractions then it all comes together.

then again, we all have those days..
FrostedNipps Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2014  Student Artist
Great article Clap 
VirtualGiovanna Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2014
Another one:  READ.  Or, for visual artists, LOOK AT STUFF.  Eventually you will find something you like.  Then imitate it shamelessly.  Even just copy it, if you are really blocked.  This is not for publication, it's for overcoming the block, so it doesn't have to have even a particle of originality.
herselfishness Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2014
comes with a smyl ,
Sharquelle Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Great article, thanks for sharing! :)

Have you ever suffered from writer's block? If so, how did you overcome it?
Yes, but since I always try to work ahead I could step back and still have plenty ‘in stock.’ But what helped the most was changing my mindset, or at least to become aware of the times that I fell back in my old patterns.  

Do you have a "system" or "plan" on how to prevent and/or overcome writer's block?
To me it is really helpful to go out, have my paper notebook with me and my favorite pen and just sit down and write. 
That can be outdoors in a natural environment but also on a parking place behind a highway gas station or in a little café with where they serve good coffee. :coffeecup: The only thing is that I don’t allow myself to do that as often as I should allow myself to do that. When I get back I digitalize all my writings. It's good not to just sit behind that computer all day, with all its distractions. 

Have you ever noticed anything specific that leads to your writer's block? 
That would be me. As much as I hate to admit it, and as much as I would love to blame it on other causes; I create my own writer’s block. By putting too much pressure on myself and if I do that long enough my mind forces me to step back by hitting the emergency break. Encountering some unpleasant people on DA was not very good for my productivity either but I realized that I should not give people like that any control over me, or influence my creative process. :no: Especially not since the vast majority of people I've met on DA are just great. :la:
Shyanne-Kai Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2014
I find walking and swimming really help. Also, music is a massive inspiration for me - though sometimes the block is so bad even music won't get through to me. At which point I just scribble all over my notebook and hope something cohesive will form.
efoshee Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
The only problem I have with Neil's post is that he uses blanket terms as if every writer that uses the words "writer's block" is just giving up because they are "stuck", being lazy or too much of a perfectionist. I have to disagree with that idea.

I guess the real question is what do each of us individually think writer's block really is? Sure for some people it really is just an excuse to back away from something that looks difficult. But that's not the case for me personally. For me writer's block means that I am having trouble figuring out how to word something so that it makes sense and fits with what I've been writing about so far.
raspil Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2014   Writer
From Neil Gaiman's tumblr (because wikipedia is a joke and we all know it):

Blaming “Writer’s Block” is wonderful. It removes any responsibility from the person with the “block”. It gives you something to blame, and it sounds fancy.

But it’s probably more honest to think of it as a combination of laziness, perfectionism and Getting Stuck. If you’re being lazy, don’t be. If you’re being a perfectionist, don’t be. And if you’re stuck, figure out where the story went off the rails, or what you got wrong, or where you need to go deeper, or what you need to add to make it work, and then start writing again.…

bolded emphasis mine.

He's 100% right and I dare anyone with half a sack stand up and say he's not.

WorldWar-Tori Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2014   General Artist
I can agree with that for most people - I think writer's block isn't as common as it all seems, especially after writing this at first I figured a lot of people got it, but when I started thinking about it, I realized a lot of it when it comes to my "writer's block" is laziness or lack of motivation to actually write. I have plenty of ideas - but I lack the enthusiasm to write them.

GrimFace242 wrote an article after this one Writer's Block: The Myth. which I think applies to far more people than this one... but alas, I do think it  is real enough for many people as well.
raspil Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2014   Writer
I lack the enthusiasm to write them
do you know why this is?
WorldWar-Tori Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2014   General Artist
I go through phases of wanting to write and not. I think we've had this conversation before?
I enjoy writing, I do - but it's also not my passion so I don't center or focus myself the way I could. I take an hour two days a week to focus on writing; some of it turns into something, some doesn't :shrug: I don't often feel phased either way.
From time to time I do find I have a desire to write and focus myself, I get passionate and the drive and knocked some stuff out that I do like. But overall I just don't put forth the dedication or hard work to creating good writing.
raspil Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2014   Writer
I think we've had this conversation before?
probably -- i ask the question a lot.

i'll ask this -- if you're not passionate and not willing to be dedicated to something you say you enjoy, why waste your time on it?  because you are, and before you get defensive... think about what you are passionate about and follow that instead.  life is short to not do what you're really into.
inknalcohol Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2014   Writer
It is real, but like many things I think it's over diagnosed as the problem.
WorldWar-Tori Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2014   General Artist
Exactly :nod:
mirz333 Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2014   General Artist
I think one of the issues is the definition of writer's block. I believe it exists, but not the way that perhaps you do.

The writer's blocks I have experienced never led me to stop writing or creating. For me, writer's blocks were a period where it was insanely difficult to write. I could write, but nothing worked. I got no joy out of writing. I dreaded it because everything I put on paper just sucked rocks so badly. I still wrote, but none of it was usable. It was frustrating coming from a point where the ideas were flowing, but then there was nothing--absolutely nothing. So, the ability and desire to write was there, but it was not at a level which allowed me to properly create. That said, during writer's blocks, I usually end up pounding out a few good stories. Usually different genres, types (such as poetry when I usually write prose), etc.

I view writer's block as a dark cloud over your creativity. An oppression of your art. A dampening of your creative soul. Not the inability to write at all.

That said, I 100% agree with the idea that the writer's block where a person just sits and writes nothing, and doesn't try, and never makes an effort, doesn't exist. I've often heard people say, "I wish the ideas would just come out of my head" or "I wish someone else could write the story for me." At that point, you see that it's about it being too hard. The process is too difficult. It takes too much time. It's too painful. It's easier to just succumb to that than to crack the whip and force yourself to do something.

So, I think we're mostly on the same page.
talisath Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I'm with you on this one. I don't have a writer's block so often as I have a severe case of laziness. When I'm writing, words just flow, but it's hard getting myself to start writing. There's usually something more important. So I usually write in the most unoportune of moments (eg during class, when I'm supposed to be studying, etc). 
NaeroIlyanke Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Have you ever noticed anything specific that leads to your writer's block?

I've found that the fact that I never truly plan out a story before I write it often causes writers block after a few chapters ( sometimes even a few sentences). Its also why I have yet to actually finish a story.
Most of my inspiration comes from short bursts of my imagination when listening to trailer and movie soundtracks ( The Lord of the Rings, Audiomachine, Two Steps From Hell, Epic Score, ect.)
I guess i just need to plan things out instead of rushing into them.
VelkynKarma Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Writer's block is definitely a pain in the butt. As for your questions...

1) Yes, I've dealt with writer's block. Time is usually the solution to getting over it, but I do have some tricks I fall back on (see #2)

2) I usually deal with writer's block by backing away from the fic for a bit, because it usually occurs when I either
A) burn myself out by writing too much (there's no energy left to keep creating) or
B) I'm just not sure how to solve a particular writing problem and I need to refresh and look at it from a new angle.
So I'll do something else...go on a walk, read a book, play a video game. I often find when I come back to the fic later I'll have ideas or energy to keep going again--sometimes I'll even come up with a solution in the middle of walking or playing a game! In the case of the first one, sometimes it takes a week or even a month to regenerate enough energy, but by now I know this is just how I am and move on to other things for the time being--I know eventually I'll come back to this writing project when I'm feeling it again.

3) It's usually either particularly intense scenes, or transition scenes, that end up giving me writer's block. Really intense scenes (highly emotional conversations, extremely serious moments, etc) are some of my favorite things to write, but they DO drain a lot of energy out of me when I'm struggling to convey that intensity on a page. As a result sometimes these scenes come in fits and starts (ex. jotting down only 200 words one night, 300 the next night, etc). Transition scenes (those scenes in between major events that you need to sew everything together, but tend to have low intensity) can get kinda boring and sometimes it's hard to figure out how to handle them well, and I've found writer's block happens a lot here, too. Those are usually the blocks that last anywhere from days to months for me. In terms of non-writing outside sources, particularly stressful times in my life tend to lead to writer's block too (if I'm stressing over family issues, job or school issues, etc, I tend to not be creative, so I don't get writing done). The last is the unpredictable one and that one really sucks.

efoshee Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
"Have you ever suffered from writer's block? If so, how did you over come it?"

I'm not sure if it would qualify as a block, it was more like a clog in the sink and the water is draining too slowly. I had all these ideas about how I wanted things to go and no idea how to write it so that it would go the way it was supposed to. Then I read a piece of advice on getting through writer's block. The author said to put a man with a gun in the middle of the story. It doesn't matter what the story is about. Just stick the man with the gun right in there and try to imagine how your characters will react to the man. That did the trick for me. It got my creative juices flowing again and I was able to finish the story :)

Do you have a "system" or "plan" on how to prevent and/or overcome writer's block?

I don't really have a system or plan for preventing or overcoming writer's block. I suppose I'll just stick add in the man with the gun in again if I need to :D

Have you ever noticed anything specific that leads to your writer's block?

One of the major things that leads to stopping my creative process for the day is when someone starts talking at me. They know I'm working but they just can't resist telling me about the latest episode of what ever show they're watching or what their friend told them about someone else. I get irritated and then I just don't feel like writing anymore for the rest of the day. I'm actually thinking about taking the advice in this article and going out somewhere with my laptop so that I can be alone while I write.

Great article by the way! Very helpful :)
saevuswinds Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2014  Student Writer
  • Have you ever suffered from writer's block? If so, how did you over come it?
I have; I kept writing. When it's an inspiration related block, I usually talk my ideas out with friends before writing them down. 
  • Do you have a "system" or "plan" on how to prevent and/or overcome writer's block?
Keep writing, listen to interesting music, DO THINGS OUTSIDE, and READ MORE BOOKS.
  • Have you ever noticed anything specific that leads to your writer's block? 
Usually not writing for a while, or doubting yourself. Just go with it!
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