What does your block look like? How does it behave? Here are some tips to help you kick the “buts” about blocks.

I don’t believe in writer’s block, just the fact that one or more questions need to be asked; and, relaxed patience is needed while the answer comes to you.

When I attempted my first book, I went back and forth about how to present the information; and did this for two years. I made numerous lists of what I wanted in the content, mind-mapped, and used a lot of paper. Finally, I stopped all this activity and stated to myself that until I knew what to do I was giving it a rest. Two relatively relaxing months later, I woke and knew: write this non-fiction as fiction; let it flow; let it be however long it decides to be. I ended up with a 54-page (of content) novella that’s been reviewed as a must-read by many, and got a lot said with fewer words. Releasing struggle freed my energy so the words could flow. What I’d wrangled with for two years was finished in two months; and at that, done so by writing longhand thirty to forty minutes three to five mornings a week. I could have cut that time in half had I used my computer, as I do now.

Maybe one of these blocks applies to you.

Length: Just as some runners are marathoners, some are sprinters. What if you’re trying to write a full-length manuscript and you keep bumping into blocks about how to expand it? If you write fiction, maybe you’re a short story or novella writer. Have you tried this? If you write non-fiction, maybe e-books are a better fit. Try it and see how this feels for you.

Topic: Non-fiction writers who cannot decide what to write about can make a topics list. Your greatest achievement comes when you solve a problem for someone AND it’s something you feel a passionate commitment about. Fiction writers have a responsibility to entertain readers, whatever the genre or tone. However, if you don’t absolutely love the story and characters, if you’re writing to please anyone but yourself first, you’ll feel blocked because you’re blocking your own fun and flow as a writer. Writers must trust their creativity.

Success: If you’re a new writer, your experience will shift from not-so-good to better if you think of your writing as practice. Make the art of playing as a writer your goal, not success. If you don’t write, you can’t achieve success as a writer. This really means to take the steps in order. If you focus on the manuscript instead of the chapters, it can seem overwhelming. Also, new writers tend to think writing the draft and maybe one editing run will do it. Email a successful author and ask how many rewrites they do. Author James Michener stated, “I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter.”

Also, author Mike Litman says about everything, “You don’t have to get it right, you just have to get it going.” I can look back at things I wrote in “the early days” and see how I’ve evolved as a writer. Start now and get better. If you need to further educate yourself or find skilled people to assist you, invest in yourself and do this.

Mood: If you’re really exhausted, rest. It may be that you don’t feel inspired to write on a given day. Ask yourself what this is about. Some days, I’ve got other matters to tend to, so writing waits but gets its slot on my calendar. Sometimes, for larger projects, I make notes about content, but recognize the material is in an incubation stage. When the fruit’s ripe, it’ll fall off the vine. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of typing anything, even if it’s, “I can’t think of anything to write. I don’t feel motivated,” or whatever else gets your fingers moving on the keyboard or the pen across the page. Ask yourself which one of these fits and do what’s needed. Want to loosen up? Fiction or non-fiction writers: pick three words and give yourself no more than five minutes to write in a way that connects them as a theme in a paragraph.

Inspiration: There’s a rule in photography that says if you don’t readily see anything of interest, get closer. Non-fiction writers, is there anything you’ve hesitated to include, but you know is important? Are you sure you’ve provided enough information or explanation? Never assume readers know what you know. Fiction writers, have you allowed your characters to reveal things about themselves to you that you didn’t know? Are your locations clear pictures in readers’ minds or can you add just enough detail to do this? Are there any conversations your characters need to have?

Writing is work; but if you don’t play at it, it shows in your experience of the process and in your result. Write about what matters to you, whatever it is. Let the passion that compels you to write about anything motivate you.

Author's Bio: 

Joyce Shafer (jls1422@yahoo.com), life coach and author of "I Don't Want to be Your Guru, but I Have Something to Say" and “Write, Get Published, and Promote,” assists fellow life coaches and writers of self-development/metaphysics topics to become self-published (and selling) e-book authors in 6 weeks through a 7-step process. Details at http://lifecoacheswriteebooks.webs.com - see outstanding reviews of her books/e-books at Lulu.com.