Breaking Writer's Block
by Lisa Hood
The most fearsome enemy to any
writer, attacking without warning, without prejudice, and without compassion,
is (gasp, dare I say it?) WRITER's BLOCK. I feel a bit like Harry Potter
speaking Voldermort's name aloud to the horror of his fellow witches and
Writer's block is a curse to creativity. It's as if all the characters and
situations and what if scenarios, which normally ricochet around your brain
have been sucked into a worm hole leaving only a void behind. It's painful,
it's frightening and it's self inflicted!
Writer's block is the residue of fear. For me, it is the fear of not being
good enough. For you it may be fear of exposing yourself to criticism, fear of
rejection, fear of humiliation, fear of failure, fear of success, the list
could go on and on. Regardless of the fear that keeps you its prisoner,
writer's block is your prison.
It's time to conquer your fear and get back to the business of writing.
Begin by identifying what is holding you back. As I said, I'm afraid of not
being good enough. To counter this, I use a technique called free writing. I
think about a situation and then write continuously for ten minutes, without
stopping, without censoring any word or phrase or thought. Knowing that
mistakes are acceptable—that the objective of this exercise is quantity not
quality— frees me from my prison.
Use every opportunity to write. If you have stalled on a novel, write a short
story, an article, a poem, write in your journal, write a description of the
checker at the grocery store, give her a name, a bio, a life…The idea is: JUST
WRITE. I stall when editing. Sometimes I just can't look at the story anymore. I get so frustrated, I just want to chuck the whole thing and start
over. At times like this, it's better for me to turn my attention to a short
story or write an article. Before I know it, I'm relaxed and confident.
Last, but not least, READ. Reading a good book always inspires me.
Imagine if JRR Tolkien let fear stop him from writing. What the world would be
missing! Every book is full of lessons you can apply to your craft. You can
read a book and see the way a particular writer develops characters, overcomes
obstacles or weaves their words. You may find tools to use and traps to avoid
in your own work.
Lisa Hood is the author of "Shades of Betrayal" and "Shades of Revenge." She
has been writing for over 10 years and is presently working on her third
suspense novel, "Shades of Jealousy." She is also the Talent Liaison @
BOOKJOBBER.com. Other articles by Lisa Hood can be downloaded from