Monday 15 August 2011

Getting Past Writer’s Block

Getting Past Writer’s Block
By Pamela Samuels Young
You’ve been staring at the computer screen for several minutes, waiting for inspiration to come to you. But nothing happens. You press both hands to your cheeks and exclaim, “Oh no, I have writer’s block.”

Personally, I don’t believe in writer’s block. In addition to writing legal thrillers, I have a very demanding day job as an in-house lawyer for a large corporation. For me, having time to write is a luxury. I’m unwilling to waste that time staring at a blank computer screen or piece of paper. When I have time to write, I write.

You must treat your writing career as you would any other profession. I can’t walk into my office tomorrow and say, “Sorry, I can’t provide any legal advice today. I have attorney block.” You get paid to do a job, so you do it. You may not be getting paid to write just yet, but you’ll never get to that point if you allow yourself to use some imaginary “block” as an excuse for not finishing your novel.

Here are four tips to help you when and if writing malaise (not writer’s block!) hits you.

1. It’s All About Attitude

If you tell yourself you can’t do it, then that’s exactly what will happen. Keep a positive attitude. If writing a novel were easy, everyone would be doing it. You have a special passion and talent that require nourishment. Find people and things to help you stay motivated. My favorite human motivator is my husband, Rick. When I start to think that I can’t, he’s always there to remind me that I can. My favorite non-human motivator is Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey ice cream. I often reward myself with a few scoops after a particularly successful writing session.

2. Just Write

Even if you do experience writer’s block, your fingers won’t be paralyzed. That means you can still type or hold a pen. So get going. Just write. You don’t have to create prize-winning prose. Just write something. You can always come back and make revisions. The real writing is in the editing.

3. Study the Writing Craft

If you absolutely don’t want to write (operative word don’t, not can’t) use the time to study the writing craft. Select a book in your genre that you think is particularly good and study the writer’s technique. How does she hook you at the end of the chapter? What makes his descriptions compelling? An hour or so of this type of study may just cause your own juices to start flowing.

4. Go Ahead, Take a Break

There will be times when you may simply need to take a break from writing. The body can only take so much. Those of us who don’t have the luxury of writing full time sometimes forget how much stress we have in our lives. If you’re working all day and writing all night, you won’t be able to burn the candle at both ends forever. You have to take care of yourself physically. That may mean a few days away from your novel.

So, don’t just stare at that blank computer screen, start writing!

Pamela can be found at:
Pamela's latest release:
About Murder On The Down Low:
A high-profile lawsuit erupts into chaos, revealing its place in a larger spree of violence in this scandalous tale of lust, lies, and vengeance. A brazen gunman is targeting prominent African American men on the streets of Los Angeles, and police are completely baffled. At the same time, savvy big-firm attorney Vernetta Henderson and her outrageous sidekick, Special, lead the charge for revenge against a man whose deceit caused his fianceé's death. For Special, hauling the man into court and suing him for wrongful death just isn’t good enough. While she exacts her own brand of justice, a shocking revelation connects the contentious lawsuit and the puzzling murders.
Source: Info in the About Murder On The Down Low was taken from GoodReads at on 03/08/2011.


  1. Fabulous post! Thanks for your time, Pamela, and thanks for posting, Cherry!


  2. Looks like you, Kels, and Pamela have the same idea... when stumped, plod on... I agree :)

  3. Great post :D I like that advice

  4. I find it interesting that the same advice is often used for other artists, like painters. So, I whole heartedly agree!!

  5. Some great advice for people to keep in mind.

  6. Agreed! People complaining about "writer's block" makes me cringe. Stop making excuses and just write!


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