Tips to dispel writer’s block

Written By

Ushasi Sen Basu

Tips to dispel writer's block Loading

I have been sitting here all morning, staring at the blinking cursor on a word document page as white as fresh snow. I have run out of excuses. I have checked my email, my Facebook, LinkedIn too. My kid is at her friend’s house, so my usual scapegoat for not being able to write is inconveniently missing in action.

Let’s face it, I have a monumental case of Writer’s Block. Is that a real thing, someone asked me recently. Is it ever? I spoke at such length and with such passion about it that, by the look on her face, I could tell she regretted the question within 5 minutes of asking it.

I recently had to prepare for a 5 hour writer’s workshop. Personally my motto is get a great idea and keep writing until there’s nothing left to say but I suspected the attendees might be upset if I just sat quietly for the remaining 4 hours and 59 minutes after delivering this piece of wisdom. So, I decided to do a lot of reading about what it meant to write: the how’s, whys, why not’s, oh god no’s, etc. Surprise, surprise. At least half of what I read was dedicated to breaking the back of a writer’s block.

Yes, it’s real. So, you’re saying, since you’ve read so much about how to cure it, why don’t you just go ahead and DO it already? My answer to you would be, first of all: I don’t like your snarky tone, young lady. Secondly, let me run you through some of the methods in explanation.

  1. Keep a dream journal

I think that’s a smashing idea for someone who doesn’t exclusively dream about food (Good dream) and being late for your math exam because someone hid your clothes. (Bad dream, duh.)

  1. Get up at least an hour before anyone else in your home, and write about your previous day with a special focus on who you met and what you did.

It is said that some wonderful piece of writing is bound to pop up through this method. I don’t get up an hour before other people. I just don’t; on principle. And if a woman can’t stick by her principles, she’s infinitely poorer at the end of the day. Poorer still because she can’t expect to be paid for all those words she isn’t writing. Even if I did choose to talk about the preceding day, it would be lots of complaining about not writing; so there goes that idea.

  1. Take up a hobby that will leave most of your mind free to wander while your hands and primary attention are occupied.

This sounds suspiciously like getting me to do housework. Staring at a blank word document is easier on my knees.

  1. Live an interesting life.

I think I missed that bus. When I occasionally try to hop on, something so disastrous happens that I repress the memory and never write about it.

  1. Listen to instrumental music.

I love this idea. It does evoke a certain mood which is conducive to writing admittedly; but what if the mood I’m aiming to create is not 18th Century German gloom?

  1. Set yourself a word limit and a time to write every day.

Does ‘Tabula Rasa. Tabula Rasa. Tabula Rasa’…200 times at 11 am sharp everyday count? Then I’m doing pretty well!

I hope my tips to dispel writer’s block helps all my blocked-up fellow writers out there. I will now just shut down and go read some other person’s writing. Anyone who can string a whole chapter of words together seems like a magician worthy of my rapt admiration right now.

Wishing my fellow writers better luck! Happy writing!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ushasi Sen Basu, 37, lives in Bangalore and is the erstwhile Editor-in-Chief of SiyaWoman.com. She published her debut contemporary literary fiction novel, 'Kathputli’ in early 2017, in both Kindle and paperback formats. Ushasi has been a professional writer and editor for over a decade. She also has an unpopular blog called The Crib that pokes fun at everything, including herself. Ushasi (aka Shashi, "U" and 'You-Over-There') loves literature and music, and dances like nobody’s watching. She is the mother of a five-year-old girl, who is the joy of her life and grudging guinea pig for many of her parenting experiments.

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