My Favorite Tips for Overcoming Writer’s Block

Whether it's an article or a book or just a sentimental email to a loved one, you've probably experienced writer's block. It's real, and it's frustrating. I once read that what separates a professional writer from an amateur one is that "a professional writer never...

read more

How to Invest When You Don’t Have a 401(k)

At 24, I had no clue how investing worked. I didn't know a stock from a bond. Index fund? What's that? My idea of investing was the hope that my childhood Beanie Baby collection might be worth money someday. However, despite my lack of even basic knowledge around the...

read more

The Case for Being Unproductive

Yesterday I took a three-hour lunch. Which sounds excessive and luxurious (and not to say it wasn’t), but I’ve also worked an average of 50 hours a week for the past three months. I’ve worked every weekend, hunched over my laptop, forking oatmeal into my mouth,...

read more

Hurricane Harvey: How You Can Help

I grew up in Houston, the most diverse city in the country, and lived here until 2010. In those two decades, the first decades of my life, I met so many people from so many different countries, backgrounds, and cultures, all with different beliefs, opinions, and...

read more

You’ve Blown Your Budget. Here’s What to Do Next

You've finally learned how to budget. It’s Friday, it’s payday, and you’ve budgeted $100 to last the whole weekend. That should be plenty for a couple of nice meals, a trip to the museum, and maybe even a cocktail or two. Then you get a text from an old friend....

read more

Where Have I Been?

On January 1st, as I hopped on my bike to ride down to the Rose Bowl parade, I got an email on my phone. It read, “I would very much like to represent your book."  A million thoughts raced through my head. Thoughts like: There must be some mistake. Really? My book? Oh...

read more

kristinwong

Hey! I’m Kristin. a freelance writer and journalist (you can find my stuff at Lifehacker, NY mag, the NY Times, and more). Here, I share what I learn about how to freelance, from managing money to digital nomading to figuring out why the Wi-Fi isn’t working. 

What You're Saying

  • Jing: I think not waiting for inspiration is such a...
  • Miguel (The Rich Miser): I find that for short-term...
  • James: Albeit not the best way to keep track, but I...
  • shahzad ahmed: i cannot know what i become a free...
  • Jing: Thanks for writing this Kristin! I completely...

My Favorite Tips for Overcoming Writer’s Block

Whether it’s an article or a book or just a sentimental email to a loved one, you’ve probably experienced writer’s block. It’s real, and it’s frustrating.

Overcoming Writer's Block Beat Wrtier's Block

I once read that what separates a professional writer from an amateur one is that “a professional writer never stares at a blank page.” Lol no.

Like anyone else, writers who write for a living also experience the vexing hurdle of not knowing where to start. However, practice helps. Over time, you learn the best tricks for overcoming writer’s block and motivating yourself to put words on the page (even if those words are initially lackluster). Before I get blocked, let’s get to these, shall we?

Write a Shitty First Draft

This is, hands down, the most useful tip I’ve come across for beating writer’s block. In her book on writing, Bird by Bird, author Anne Lamott explains:

For me and most of the other writers I know, writing is not rapturous. In fact, the only way I can get anything written at all is to write really, really shitty first drafts.

The first draft is the child’s draft, where you let it all pour out and then let it romp all over the place, knowing that no one is going to see it and that you can shape it later. You just let this childlike part of you channel whatever voices and visions come through and onto the page. If one of the characters wants to say, “Well, so what, Mr. Poopy Pants?,” you let her. No one is going to see it.

In his book On Writing, Stephen King calls it writing with the door closed, but the idea is the same. Give yourself permission to be terrible. So much of writer’s block is actually the emotional block of how other people are going to react to our writing. Write with the mindset that no one will see what you’re writing, and chances are, the words will start flowing. Seriously, I started this post with “Writer’s block is bad,” and while I didn’t keep that piece of tremendously shitty writing, spitting out those words made it easier to keep writing.

And as Lamott says, “There may be something in the very last line of the very last paragraph on page six that you just love, that is so beautiful or wild that you now know what you’re supposed to be writing about, more or less, or in what direction you might go — but there was no way to get to this without first getting through the first five and a half pages.”

read more…

kristinwong

Hey! I’m Kristin. a freelance writer and journalist (you can find my stuff at Lifehacker, NY mag, the NY Times, and more). Here, I share what I learn about how to freelance, from managing money to digital nomading to figuring out why the Wi-Fi isn’t working. 

What You're Saying

  • Jing: I think not waiting for inspiration is such a...
  • Miguel (The Rich Miser): I find that for short-term...
  • James: Albeit not the best way to keep track, but I...
  • shahzad ahmed: i cannot know what i become a free...
  • Jing: Thanks for writing this Kristin! I completely...

My Favorite Tips for Overcoming Writer’s Block

Whether it's an article or a book or just a sentimental email to a loved one, you've probably experienced writer's block. It's real, and it's frustrating. I once read that what separates a professional writer from an amateur one is that "a professional writer never...

read more

How to Invest When You Don’t Have a 401(k)

At 24, I had no clue how investing worked. I didn't know a stock from a bond. Index fund? What's that? My idea of investing was the hope that my childhood Beanie Baby collection might be worth money someday. However, despite my lack of even basic knowledge around the...

read more

The Case for Being Unproductive

Yesterday I took a three-hour lunch. Which sounds excessive and luxurious (and not to say it wasn’t), but I’ve also worked an average of 50 hours a week for the past three months. I’ve worked every weekend, hunched over my laptop, forking oatmeal into my mouth,...

read more

Hurricane Harvey: How You Can Help

I grew up in Houston, the most diverse city in the country, and lived here until 2010. In those two decades, the first decades of my life, I met so many people from so many different countries, backgrounds, and cultures, all with different beliefs, opinions, and...

read more

You’ve Blown Your Budget. Here’s What to Do Next

You've finally learned how to budget. It’s Friday, it’s payday, and you’ve budgeted $100 to last the whole weekend. That should be plenty for a couple of nice meals, a trip to the museum, and maybe even a cocktail or two. Then you get a text from an old friend....

read more

Where Have I Been?

On January 1st, as I hopped on my bike to ride down to the Rose Bowl parade, I got an email on my phone. It read, “I would very much like to represent your book."  A million thoughts raced through my head. Thoughts like: There must be some mistake. Really? My book? Oh...

read more