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15 Tips to Combat Writers Block

Updated: Jan 4, 2020

So the blank page is staring at you. What can you do? Here are some original ideas I use.

If you have one word on a page, it's no longer blank.

1. Pick a favourite verb. Write it down. Examine how it makes you feel. Build around it to help create a first sentence.

One of my favourite verbs is drift. But there are many, many other great verbs.

I love the peaceful feeling 'drift' evokes in me so I've used it as an example.

'The sound of saxophone drifts lazy with jazz through our neighbour's window and entices us out of bed and into the street.' Taken from 'Sunday,' Copyright Deborah Arthurs. 2019

Some other verbs I like are: ease, ooze, smear, flutter, scrunch, beam, trudge, saunter, launch, leer, gobble, scamper, scratch, scuttle, etc. The stronger the verbs, the better.

2. Choose a 'B' word to get started.

Before, behind, beside, below, beneath, beyond, etc.

Once I get my first sentence down I'm on my way. For example:

'Beyond the shadows, the world opens one eye. Like a gigantic shimmering pearl it quivers, fragments, then shatters. Rays of eerie light unspool down to me, beckoning me, "Come climbing."

I stare upward through my cold, clear watery lens and wonder...

"Are they looking for me?"'

Taken from Recluse Bay... A View to Die For

Published under pseudonym Anne D. Arthurs. 2018

Once you've got one word on a page you can lean into your story

3. Choose a word that can be both a noun or a verb and use it as a noun... but make it behave like a verb.

Some verb/nouns could be: kiss, kick, leap, scream, shiver, slap, etc.

My example: Shiver:

'A shiver crept under the door, across the floor, up my leg to the small of my back, where it lived for the next three-and-a-half months. On some days it was satisfied just to breath its icy breath, on the back of my neck. But on other days, it bit into my spine and hips, like a bear trap.' Copyright Deborah Arthurs. 2019

4. Recall the smell of someone and describe them.

This example is by a mother describing her four year old daughter, Rosie.

"She smelled of fruit salad and toast, and tasted of smeared honey."

Taken from Recluse Bay, Published under pseudonym Anne D. Arthurs. 2018

She smelled of fruit salad and toast, and tasted of smeared honey...

5. Use a verb as an adjective and build a story around it.

For example: "Across a screeching sky they flew in ominous formation."

Taken from Justice Takes Flight, Published by Deborah Arthurs. 2017

6. Try viewing your story from a different perspective and add a paragraph or two of fine detail:

'Shrouds of decaying vegetation and algae embrace me in gloom. And while I have no company, I’m never alone. The constant crackle of the bottom feeders see to that. My body has become a home for a variety of tiny shellfish, worms, crayfish, crabs and a kaleidoscope of hungry fish. And while they flit between my bones I lie in the ooze imagining the conga lines of women entering my front door, all feigning sympathy yet veiling scheming hearts.

The neighbourhood casserole ladies will be circling like sharks, smelling my blood in the water... '

Taken from Recluse Bay, Published under pseudonym Anne D. Arthurs. 2018

7. Alternate, a big picture view, with a personal view

'My liberators spirit me upwards through clear moonlit water, like a queen on a pyre, towards the surface.