Tricking Yourself Out of Writer's Block

Monday, August 03, 2015
As you know from reading my letter to my work-in-progess a couple of weeks ago, I have been stuck. But this past week, thanks to my critique group's night of writing and a little trick, I finally fixed the beginning of my middle-grade novel. (And my work-in-progress is very thankful about this.)

Here was my Facebook post on my page the following day:

"Here's the weird thing about writers. I have been stuck on my latest middle grade novel. Really the first 12 pages. Last night, I copied and pasted them into a new Word doc, changed the font, and voila, solved my entire plot problem. ‪#‎mindtricks‬ "

Several writers commented on this post. It seemed to resonate with many.  One writer said that she uses a different computer sometimes if she is stuck. A couple offered more words of encouragement, saying to do whatever works and that I had a cool idea. And finally, some are considering trying it, after also being stuck and not writing much all summer (or maybe even longer). 

Writing is an exhausting process--even if it brings you great joy and satisfaction--it is not very easy. Many writers have a love-hate relationship with their profession, but could not imagine doing anything else. Even when some writers (such as me) are not making much progress on a creative project, we are still writing in some way--whether we are expressing ourselves through blog posts, social media messages, or even emails and journal entries. 

The point is--we are writers, and sometimes writers get stuck and run out of fuel and spark. So it is important to surround yourself with encouraging, like-minded people (such as the writers in my critique group) and find a method that works for you TODAY (because it might not be the same method that worked yesterday).

In two weeks, my critique group and I are going on a weekend writing retreat. I'll be sure to let you know what tricks work for me and how my work-in-progress and I are getting along after spending more time together than we have all year.

Have you ever tricked your mind when writing? What works for you?

Margo L. Dill is a children's author of three books for ages 3 to 18. She also teaches writing courses for WOW! Women On Writing. To find out more, visit

light bulb photo by thomasbrightbill ( 


Sioux Roslawski said...

Margo--Well, when my WIP's first draft proved itself to be a steaming pile of poop, I started from scratch. I later incorporated parts of the first draft into this draft, but I knew I needed to leave the scene of the accident and burn rubber as I got away. (There were THAT many mangled bodies and the story was totaled.)

I also divorced myself from the original beginning--which was humorous--since it didn't really set the tone or hook the reader. I'm hoping my new intro DOES.

I know that neither one of those are "tricks" but it's the best I could come up with.

Where are you going on your retreat? To Conception? (I'm planning on going there in October.) Write fast and furiously and write well, wherever you're going...

Margo Dill said...

We are lucky in that one of our members has a lake house in a very peaceful, remote spot!

What you mentioned may not have been TRICKS, but they were at least strategies. :)

One day, when we are on the bestsellers list, we can laugh about this.

Marcia Peterson said...

Margo, I do the font/size change trick all the time! Mainly for a draft that's close to done (i.e. an article or essay). I can edit with "fresh eyes" because it seems different. I seem to catch errors or things that can be worded better.

Margo Dill said...

That's a great point too!!

Margo Dill said...

That's a great point too!!

Margo Dill said...

That's a great point too!!

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