October 27, 2017
Four Ways to Beat Writer’s Block
As an editor of several magazines, I have a lot of different writing assignments.
Some have a specific topic, other times I can write whatever I feel like, but no matter what the subject matter, I have to turn something in. I’m sure many people imagine that editors can just sit down at their computers and let the words flow. The problem is, that rarely happens. A lot of times, the words sputter more than they flow. I’ll write what I think is the perfect opening sentence, or possibly the best title I’ve ever come up with, and then … nothing. With deadlines looming, I have no choice but to somehow get words down on paper. Over the years, I’ve had to come up with a few tricks to get myself inspired, and here’s what I’ve found works best for me.
Tips for Beating Writer’s Block
- Read something that always inspires you. I have a few favorite writers whose work I love to reach for when I’m at a loss for my own words. Mary Oliver, Sarah Addison Allen, and L.M. Montgomery never fail to move me.
2. Change the mood of the room. It sounds silly, but I feel a little more “writerly” when I’m working at my computer with the lights off and only the glow of my desk lamp illuminating my office.
3. Switch up your music. I can’t work in silence. However, music lyrics easily can distract me, so I’ve started listening to instrumental music while I write. You can easily find playlists on any streaming app.
4. Start over. When I’m really struggling to write something, I will often have a file full of starts and stops. I don’t delete anything; I just hit “return” a few times and start over. Then I’ll walk away and come back and will know which direction I want to go.
These are just a few things that work for me, but I’m always looking for more ways to break through creative blocks.
Do you have any tips? Be sure to share them with our readers in the comments.
To trouncing writer’s block,
Christen Hammons is the Director of Publishing for Stampington & Company and Editor-in-Chief for:
Bella Grace Magazine
Field Guide to Everyday Magic
This photograph by Robert Zaleski originally appeared in the September issue of Bella Grace Magazine.