Breaking Writer’s Block

A friend just asked me what I do when I get writer’s block.

This was a well timed question as I was just at that moment she asked planning to employ one of my most trusted methods to break my regular writer’s block that’s been plaguing me of late.

I think the most important thing for me to do is to not consider myself under the obligation to write about any specific thing. I lose both my motivation and my ease in writing when I have a strong sense that I must write some particular thing. Really what’s best for me is to ditch even the ideas I’ve been most anxious to get to and have built up all sorts of expectations around. Sometimes it’s easier for me to just open up the internet see what the first thing that sparks a response from me is and just write about that. I became a prolific blogger churning out thousands of words a day in the first place by desperately procrastinating my dissertation that I was supposed to be working on and instead just going online everyday and interacting. Then I was able to go finish the dissertation.

So just a few minutes ago I had no idea about what to write about. But now I have a little post on writer’s block because it was the first thing I saw on the internet when I looked for something. And now I feel much freer to go write about something more in keeping with what I normally would.

Your Thoughts?

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • http://tuibguy.com Mike Haubrich

    Just remember you don’t owe anybody brilliance. Write because you want to.

    The brilliance will follow.

  • Michael

    I used to start writing a letter to a friend or relative. I might start off with “How’s the weather down your way?” but I would just force myself to find at least one interesting thing to say (if only to save myself from embarrassment). It worked nearly every time.

  • http://www.shortstoryideas.net/ Kay @ Short Story Ideas

    I usually start with some free writing with whatever happens to come into my head – usually on paper rather than the computer. Sometimes it sparks an idea that I can work with and then I turn on the computer and get going.


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