Writing is not just inspiration–it can be dull work.

Last week I shared a quote from Scott Russell Sanders on writer’s block. I encouraged writer’s to get to work on their writing. I wanted to supplement that post today with some practical things you could do when you face writer’s block.

Here are eight ways you can work at your writing when you can’t think of anything new to write:

1.) Re-evaluate your writing schedule

Have you built in enough time to actually write or are you hoping to do something great in less than 10 minutes? Would your writing benefit from waking up an hour earlier than normal, rather than staying up late?

Write a new schedule for yourself. This is the kind of “pre-writing” that writers desperately need.

2.) Read something new

Maybe if you read a different book or a post from a different site you’ll open your eyes to a form of expression that connects better with you. This can help you open the floodgates of your creativity.

3.) Re-read a favorite writer / work

Read some of your favorite passages from a blog or book. Keep a personal journal where you make notes to yourself of how they are writing. Or, if you like a passage but can’t explain why then just write it out, word for word. I prefer to do this by hand so I actually think about what words they are using.

4.) Imitate an author you like

Try writing in the objective, no nonsense style of Hemingway. Try writing in the logical, systematic form of Paul or C. S. Lewis. Start with styles that seem palpable, and then move to some than seem foreign.

5.) Practice freewriting

Set a timer for 5-10 minutes and commit to writing about anything and everything during that time. While this can lead to some better project, promise yourself that whatever you write will stay private or you might find yourself editing/restricting your freewrites.

6.) Share your work with someone else

When you read or share your work with someone else, you have to confront what you did poorly but you also can hear encouraging feedback on what you landed well! This is an essential thing to do in the writing process, because writing is ultimately about your audience–you’re not writing just for yourself!

7.) Re-consider your past work

Don’t be a one-and-done kind of writer. Do you have a completed article? A short story? Work on your writing by re-writing it, either in part or in full. How would you do it different if you did it again?

8.) Read what you have already written

I love going back and reading my past writing. Not because it’s all amazing and polished, but because it’s never as bad as I thought it was. Or if it is pretty terrible, at least I can see I was working!

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