In my online workshop,…

In my online workshop, someone just asked for tips on dealing with writer's block. This is what I wrote -- thought it might be helpful. Feel free to add your own tricks in the comments!

  • Go out to a cafe to write -- I find it much easier to focus outside my house, and the cost of a cup of tea is well worth the hours of productive writing that ensue. Even better if you can find a friend to meet you there and write with you, as long as you're both good about not chatting. Headphones can help with noise level control.

  • Listen to music -- I often have a (wordless) soundtrack that I use for each book I'm working on. Hearing that music helps cue my brain to start thinking about that book again.

  • Create a ritual. Perhaps my most productive writing time was in grad school, when I would set my alarm and wake up at 4 a.m. I'd make a cup of tea, light a candle next to my laptop, put on my writing music, and away I'd go -- going through that sequence again helped train my brain that this was writing time. Also, it was pitch black outside, and the rest of the world was asleep, so there weren't any distractions.

  • Re-type. When all else fails, I start writing by retyping a page or two (or more) of what I wrote the day (week/month) before. That can help get my brain in the right place/mood for that piece.

1 thought on “In my online workshop,…”

  1. I have writer’s block often when I am trying to write up mathematical work. I find that going anywhere new helps. I like a library or a friend’s home better than a cafe. Music does not work for me at all. It is too distracting.

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