1. Education

Twelve Quick Tips for Beating Writer's Block

Pros on Prose: How to Overcome the Block

By

How do you overcome writer's block?

"The writer's duty is to keep on writing," said novelist William Styron. But what do you do when you simply can't write--when that blank screen or empty page seems to be mocking your inability to come up with an idea or compose a decent sentence?

What you could do is consider the advice offered by these 12 professional writers.

  1. Don't concede it exists.
    (Richard Ford)

  2. Ignore it: you never stop speaking; why stop writing?
    (Quentin Crisp)

  3. Take a walk.
    (Nancy Hathaway)

  4. Read.
    (Amy Wallace)

  5. Take five ice cubes, place in clean glass, add vodka.
    (Phil Mushnick)

  6. Try the element of surprise: attack it at an hour when it isn't expecting it.
    (H.G. Wells)

  7. Apply the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair.
    (Mary Heaton Vorse)

  8. Pretend to be writing to an aunt.
    (John Steinbeck)

  9. Write badly. Bad writing is easier.
    (P.J. O'Rourke)

  10. Write anything, anything at all that comes into your head.
    (Stephen Spender)

  11. Feel panic at how quickly life slips by. Get to work.
    (Nicholson Baker)

  12. Prescription for writer's block: Begin.
    (Cynthia Ozick)

For more advice on beating the block, see Writers on Writing: Overcoming Writer's Block.

  1. About.com
  2. Education
  3. Grammar & Composition
  4. Writing Tips
  5. Writers on Writing
  6. Twelve Quick Tips for Beating Writer's Block - Pros on Prose: How to Overcome the Block - Quotations on Writing

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.