How do you start to break writers block?

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Answered by: Nina, An Expert in the Writer's Block Category
Some people will tell you that writer's block is something that is just mind over matter, that you can get over it by gritting your teeth and slogging through whatever you’re trying to create.

I’m not going to disagree with them but I’m also not going to say that is the only answer.

There are many flavors of the infamous writer's block and there are just as many ways to try and break writer's block and while sometimes it’s sheer procrastination that’s keeping you from creating, other times it’s outside influences, internal struggle, or a combination of the two that hold you back.

The first step to breaking down that block is simply to identify what is holding you back. If it’s something as “easy” as not wanting to commit to the act of writing, then you can evaluate what you're doing and decide if this is the project for you. Even if it is something you want to work on, outside influences may be keeping you from working on it right this instant and it may be time to step away and do something else.

Outside influences play a huge part in how our brains work, what state of mind we’re in and how our mental processes function. Things such as job or financial stress, how much sleep we’re getting, if we’re eating enough and living situation can all affect our writing. If it looks like you can’t focus on your writing because you’re too busy thinking of other things, the best option is probably to evaluate how you might be able to relieve the stress. Leaning on friends and family, while frightening sometimes, is actually a good way to help ease your burdens. Talking to them, even if it's just for a few minutes to get things off your mind, can help you relax enough to attempt writing once more.

Ways we treat our bodies can also play into Writer’s Block in a very real way. Getting food on a regular basis, to sleeping 7 hours a night, to even a little bit of exercise can all help you jostle your mind into a place where words come more easily. While one may not think of writing as a physical activity, our bodies and brains are invariably linked and when your body is out of whack, your brain will soon follow suit. This is why, if you take any kind of medication on a regular basis, one of the things you should do is try and get on a schedule as well.

There are other options, things such as listening to music, free-writing, working on other projects or trying your hand at shared worldbuilding. All of these things are good ways to help you either get perspective or make you think of your story in a different way. If you’re having the kind of block where not even ideas are coming, examine websites that are designed to give you prompts. There are many out there and you can almost certainly find one that works for you. Another option, especially if you are looking to get into paying markets, is to examine themed anthologies that are holding open submissions. While it may not give you exact ideas, it will help give your mind a line of thinking that you can use to proceed further into the realm of ideas.

While none of these are fool-proof and I make no promises that they will work, I’m sure that, at the very least, if you can determine what it is that is keeping you from writing, be it motivation, stress or something else, you can start your work to break writer's block.

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