You're not alone in this experience. Even the most experienced writers suffer from this affliction. It's one that comes and goes. It can strike at any time. It's the dreaded Writer's Block.
How does one overcome this demon that can strike fear into the writer starting out?
A common piece of advice given to new writers is to write every day; To set time aside every day to spend writing. No matter what you write, as long as you write.
When starting out, that could be a very daunting task for a new writer. What do you write about? That pressure of having to produce every day can mount until the pressure to write overshadows the want to write. The result: Writer's Block.
How do you not give in to that pressure? Don't give up. From personal experience I found that reading something I wrote previously (preferably quite a while ago), helps me to relax and forget about the pressure to write. Usually by the time I've finished reading I find myself doing some form of rewrite, which takes us to the next tip:
Take something you have written and rewrite it. Preferably something you didn't write recently that's still fresh in your mind. By reading something 'old', you quite often look at it from a new perspective, see things you didn't see before, spot mistakes you missed when you wrote it. There is no pressure to create something new because you have already done it. By rewriting you are still practising and improving your skill.
It may seem a strange way to beat Writer's Block. As writers, we must study our subject. Reading the works of other writers can help to get the creative juices flowing again. I can't recall the number of times I read a book and thought to myself: "It would make an interesting story if this happened instead." Or "It would make for an interesting character if this was their motive." A single thought like that can sometimes be all you need to break the hold of Writer's Block.
4. Word Games
This tip I share is one of those silly games you can even teach your children to play. Grab any book. Don't be selective. Just reach into your book shelve and take a book. Randomly turn to a page and take the first word on the page. Sometimes you strike out and get a word such as 'is' or 'a'. Other times you strike the jackpot with a word like "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious".
The game is to start a sentence with the first letter from that word. The next sentence starts with the next letter and so on until you've used all the letters. With a word like "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" you will end up with 34 sentences. There is no pressure to write a coherent story. Simply concentrate on starting each sentence with the next letter in the word.
5. Write whatever comes to mind
Lastly, forget about writing something worthwhile. Simply write down whatever comes to mind. Words, phrases, ideas. Don't worry if they don't make sense. The exercise is not to write something meaningful. The exercise is to simply restart your thinking patters.
"All good ideas", you say, "but do they actually work?" Earlier I mentioned that my last bout of writer's block lasted for two months. I've been struggling with the second book in my sci-fi series. The story wasn't going where I wanted to and the pace was too slow. I was beginning to fear that the story was just not going to work. Soon that fear turned into writer's block. After following these 5 tips, I'm back on track and is steadily working on the first draft.
Next time you sit in front of your computer/typewriter with a blank stare, try these 5 tips to help you kick start your writing again.
(P.S. Click here if you want to read my attempt at "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious")