What are your top tips for overcoming writers block?

A writer at a typewriter, with a cloud of paper covering his head, illustrating writers block
Writers Block, by Drew Coffman, via Flickr. Reproduced under CC BY 2.0 licence.

It’s National Writing Day this coming Wednesday, 27th June. This year features an activity called Write Away, designed to get us all writing freely. So for this week’s #MondayMusing, what are your top tips for overcoming writers block? How do you get started when confronted with a blank page? What do you do when the words just don’t seem to flow?

Some famous writers claim never to have been afflicted with this difficulty. William Faulkner declared:

I only write when I am inspired. Fortunately I am inspired at 9 o’clock every morning.

Faulkner was probably the exception rather than the rule. Most writers do not simply assume that inspiration will arrive, but instead build their own methods and habits into their writing life. Mark Twain was an advocate of the to-do list:

The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.

J.G. Ballard, on the other hand, was a fan of sticking to big targets and daily discipline, writing:

1,000 words a day – even if I’ve got a hangover.

The one principle we don’t advocate, of course, is resorting to alcohol as a solution, and to turn into (as Brendan Behan said he was) a “drinker with a writing problem”.

Join the chat in the comments below, or use the hashtag #MondayMusing on Twitter or Facebook. We’ll share the best via social media during National Writing Day on Wednesday 27th June.

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