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A few strategies to overcome writer’s block

I’ve had an absolutely bonkers pair of months (April and May, and June is gearing to be the same). For the first time in 2.5 years, I attended in-person workshops (2!)

I am, of course, behind on absolutely everything.

Writing at the home office

I used to be a very big proponent of the “write whenever you have a small pocket of time” trope up until my health started to go downhill quickly (I am very immunecompromised, since birth, and thus respiratory infections take me out a solid two weeks).

I now try to write for longer periods of time if at all possible.

However, not everybody is me, and therefore when I write about writing on my blog, I describe the range of strategies I have used and continue to use, depending on my health, the amount of service work I have, teaching, and other commitments.

So here’s what I have found.


1) PROMPTS HELP ME WRITE. Prompts help my students write, and also participants in the workshops I teach.
I am not the kind of person who will open the Word document and be like “LET’S WRITE”. I need something that PROMPTS ME to start writing. I respond to external stimuli.

But writing is a PRACTICE that requires a repertoire of strategies and techniques. A lot of us, myself included, want to write books, articles, papers, chapters just like “laptop open – Word open – words flow”. That’s not how it works.

Developing a writing practice TAKES TIME.

I have several pieces overdue (and though I am almost back to 100% healthy, I have A LOT going on over the next month, so I need to balance my overdue writing commitments with my health and everything else I have on my plate).


This is a word I hear often.

Seasoned writers (several of them full professors!) come and tell me frequently “I used to have a solid writing practice and a routine, and all of a sudden life/childcare/eldercare/COVID/service work/teaching threw all of that into disarray”.

Friends, you & me both. I get you.

Writing while in Berlin

I think it’s only human to accept that we might have had the best writing practice and the most amazing routines and then life threw a wrench at us and now we’re faced with the challenge of restarting while dealing with *waves hands around* all of this.

Here’s how I’m doing it:

Reading is an absolutely integral part of my writing process.

Reading helps me improve my written prose.

Reading helps me think through ideas I’ve been trying to put into dialogue with other authors’ arguments.

I can’t write if I don’t read. I read every day, in fact. except when I am very ill.

Reading highlighting scribbling annotating

These are a few strategies that may be of help to some of you. Good luck!

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