Welcome to a new collection of stories on how to get your writing unstuck.
My goal is to make a place where you can collect sparks to push your work forward.
Each post will begin with the phrase “How to Hack Writer’s Block,” followed by advice you can act on right away. Many of these stories will be quick actions or ideas that shift your perspective. Others will take more effort.
I’ve collected more than 100 tips from respected writers, playwrights, and screenwriters. And I intend to share them all with you.
Fair warning, some of this advice will be contradictory.
Some days I’ll write about the Muse, and some days I’ll say there is no Muse. I’ll tell you to guard your writing time and I’ll tell you to spend more time with your family.
As writers, we share similar struggles. So think of the “you” in each of these stories as “we,” because I also need the help. To keep the advice simple and direct, I’ll write to you.
We all respond to different types of encouragement. Advice that resonates with you today will be stale tomorrow. Next week, next month, or next year, you will need a fresh perspective and a new shot of inspiration.
Return here often for a quick boost.
We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.
Those strategies you used to write your last book, they will fail on the new one. Why? Because you changed. Because this work is different. Because this new story demands something extra.
Ernest Hemingway wrote, “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” But why is that true? Why?
Blame higher standards. You’re a better writer today than you were last year. Better writers have higher standards.
As your writing skill improves, so does your taste.
Be thankful your standards are higher, it means you have improved. It also means writing will continue to be a lifelong challenge. Embrace it.
Think of these stories as a string of lights. Each a different color. Each illuminating a different place. Each linked to the next by the craft of writing.
Some of these lights will reveal weaknesses in your old approach to writing. Others will give you new flashes of insight and motivation.
Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own.
Bruce Lee reminded us to own our learning in “Wisdom for the Way.” Found something that works? Memorize, highlight, or write it down. Discard advice that doesn’t resonate with you.
Your attention is valuable.
Most of these stories will be potato-chip sized. If you find some piece wanting, another will come along that you may like. I’ll try not to waste your time.
Do you believe writer’s block doesn’t exist? Then you’ll enjoy this first story, “How to Hack Writer’s Block: It’s a Myth.”