Top 10 Ways to Beat Writer's Block

Writer's block - that dreaded brick wall you hit, where imagination, ideas just won't get through. Try not to worry, there are simple and cheap (often free) ways to combat it and break down barriers. These ideas are all tried and tested and often very successful. If you have your own methods of combating writer's block, feel free to share your ideas to help other struggling writers. Or vote for an item you have found which has worked best for you.
The Top Ten
1 Read

Put your paper down or shut down your computer and pick up a book in the genre you are writing. Reading other authors' work will inspire you to think of your own work. Soon, ideas will come flooding in.

2 Set a routine

Set a specific point during the day to go to your desk (or wherever you find is your best place to write) and stick to it. You'll find you'll get into the right frame of mind to work, simply because it's what you do at this set time of day. Routine and discipline work wonders.

3 Take a notebook everywhere with you

Ideas and inspiration come from everywhere. Don't rely on your memory and think "I'll write it down later" because there is always a strong chance you'll forget it. Imagine how you will feel if you have a "EUREKA!" moment and don't have the means to store it. Have a notebook with you at all times.

4 Talk to fellow writers

From a writers' circle to a friend. Listen to how they tackle that dreaded brick wall or just throw some ideas around. Usually, your ideas to them will actually benefit you and vice versa.

5 Ask the characters

Let me explain. When you are writing, the characters are like people. They want things. Ask them what they want, and what you get may drive the story forward.

6 Watch a film in the genre you are writing

Again, have your notebook handy. You might like to jot down the actions on screen: mood, atmosphere, dialogue. Write down how your own characters would act as if they were the actors in the film. You'll feel refreshed, full of ideas and ready to tackle that troublesome piece.

7 Eat

Have a hearty meal before writing. Food is fuel for the imagination.

8 Stop writing in mid-sentence

Not as silly as it sounds. Even if ideas are coming faster than you can type or write, stop. You'll find stopping in mid-sentence is the perfect incentive to finish what you start, instead of staring helplessly at your screen, trying to find ways of carrying on.

9 Write something completely different

Usually, the act of writing something far away from the piece you're working on works well as you're taking a break or letting it cool. Write something, anything from your diary to nonsense verse. At least you're still actively writing. A lot of the times during this time, an idea for your original work will creep in when you least expect it.

10 Go for a walk

Forget your work. Put it out of your head. Go for a walk, take a bus ride (sometimes interacting with fellow passengers is enough to trigger an idea). Blow the cobwebs away and enjoy being in the fresh air. Whether you realise it or not, ideas and inspiration will fire up your imagination. Just don't forget to take your notebook!

The Contenders
11 Make up alternative titles

A lot of the time you'll find that a different title works best for your piece, this leads to ideas, which leads you back into your 'writer's mind'. Pretty soon you'll be on your merry way again.

12 Watch TV
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