Five Exercises to Help You Overcome Writer’s Block


As we dive into becoming more effective writers, it can be daunting when writer’s block hits you going full steam. You’re in a groove and suddenly a metaphorical train hits you, bringing you to a screeching freeze.

Music Playlist

Music can drive writing. Oftentimes you know the emotion, or catharsis, a particular chapter or arc is supposed to deliver. However, you can’t quite articulate it. So why not find the perfect song that fits the emotion of the character/scene/chapter/setting? Listen to the nuances of the music and see if creating a playlist helps you to formulate a sequence to build your narrative.

Character Sheet

Sometimes there are character decisions that seem unjustified, or a supporting character seems both boring and flat. Maybe your lead male comes across as a Superman, leaving him appearing near immortal. Then you have no stakes and the outcome becomes predictable inevitability. So take the time to fill out a theatrical character sheet, discover physical traits, weaknesses, and more. There’s a good example available here, but it’s not gospel. Adapt it; add more questions that are more applicable to your narrative.

Word Count Challenge

Do you struggle with the internal editor? Take on a word count challenge to shut that editor up, particularly if you’re on the first draft. See how many words you write on average per hour. Then take the challenge to add at least 100 more the next time you write. See how you do and continue to improve the number. The results will add up fast.

The Worst Thing Imaginable

Sometimes writer’s block can come from a lack of stakes. Everyone seems to agree with one another and the circumstances are hindered. If it occurs at an early stage or at a critical turning point, it could mark the death of the manuscript or lose interested readers. So what’s better than to think of the worst possible circumstance that could come about in the character’s life? What would occur that the character couldn’t imagine being worse? Try doing exactly that to the character and see how they fight through the circumstances.

And Now for Something Completely Different

Sometimes you get so far in your own world and head, you can’t get out. So the solution may just be get the hell out of Dodge for a while. Try writing a different story, or write some poetry, music, a comedy sketch. Give the troublesome area a break and let it seep for a while, see what the freedom delivers. It could be the random writing has more of a place in your writing than you thought. Perhaps a stanza in the poem is the sentence you needed to implement.

What exercise did I leave out that works for you? Chime in with the comments section. The conversation’s always live on Twitter @ThomasAFowler, use the hash-tag #WritersConquest. As always, keep checking my official website for the latest updates. Thanks so much for taking on the Writer’s Conquest.

I’m also taking on NaNoWriMo and Movember this month. Check out the category to send me a writing buddy invitation or donate to change the face of men’s health.

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