What is Writer's Block, and How Do I Overcome Writer's Block Without Tearing Out My Hair?

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Answered by: Kimberly, An Expert in the Writer's Block Category
Writing can be the most fun, fulfilling thing you can ever achieve, whether it's writing a review, beginning a novel, or penning a rough draft. One thing, however, can upset your triumphs--writer's block. Imagine: you've been writing all day. You're just getting to the climax of an interesting story (possibly the best story you've ever written) and--poof--you've just run out of ideas! Take it from me; it's definitely a pain. There are four types of writer's block that I've encountered myself, and that I find most prevalent when writing. See if you can spot the type you've ever experienced:

Type 1: Standard Writer's Block

-Most common of the four

-Experienced by all writers at some point

-Can happen at any point during drafting

-Can last anywhere between 20 minutes and a week

Type 2: The "Goldfish" Effect

-Also very common

-Includes having a brief, glorious idea and literally forgetting it mere moments after (hence the name)

-Usually lasts for an undetermined period (until a new or similar idea is conceived)

-Normally occurs before or during the climax or rising action when writing fiction

Type 3: Stress Block

-Occurs when there is pressure to write, such as a deadline or due date

-Occurs during writing events (i.e. NaNoWriMo event, essays, reports, etc.)

Type 4: The Distracted Writer

-Includes being unable to focus on writing and meet target word count

-Writer will make any excuse not to touch their story and avoid it in anyway possible

-Tends to be a lot of guilt for neglecting their story after experiencing this

Now that we've got them covered, you've probably identified which type of writer's block you get most often. You might be asking yourself a question along the lines of, "How can I overcome writer's block? How can I keep it at bay?"

While there is no surefire way to keep writer's block away (it's bound to happen at some point, even to the best of us), there are several ways of overcoming all the types I identified and more. Here are some tips that have helped me:

1. Identify the type of writer's block you have.

2. If block persists even after a few minutes of mindless typing, take a short break; eat, drink something, take a walk. Just relax for ten minutes.

3. Writer's block is often caused by tension, emotional strain, or pressure to complete a project on the writer. Take a break from your story altogether. Take a couple days off to sleep, reconnect with friends; do whatever you like for a few days so that you can stop stressing.

4. Writer's block can also be caused by having a part of your story that you dislike. Reread what you've already written; there's got to be a few parts that you don't like, and if there are, edit them, word them differently, or delete them altogether if you need too. It's your story, you can do whatever it is that you want with it. Always remember that the story is as good as its writer.

Remember, how you overcome writer's block is up to you.

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