Writer’s Block: Building Blocks

Very rarely am I at a loss for words whether speaking or writing. Yet, now that I am writing a longer piece–my first attempt at a ya book. Wow I haven’t said that before, I am facing writing hurdles that I have not faced before and am challenging myself in ways I have never been challenged.

With teaching middle grade students, I have asked for their feedback and advice: I take their feedback very seriously since they are my target audience and they give good feedback. As we are conducting our Teams meeting, I have started to recognize the advice they give each other. The questions they ask and the suggestions they offer sound oddly familiar. I realized today I know where I heard those before: me.

My writing is an open canvas for my students. I model my process and invite them in to my pieces: the triumphs and the struggles. Together we learn and grow. I have to remember to take my own advice to help me with my own writer’s block. Here are some of my favorites. I hope they help you too!

  • When a student shares they have writer’s block, I make it a positive, a fork in the road with endless possibilities.
  • To work past this, I encourage them to read their book and lift one or more words, lines, sentences, or passages and write off of it for at least three minutes with no expectation of what you will write, draw, or list. Keep doing this each day until you find an idea that you like to develop further.
  • Make a list of things that are inspiring you or that you want to figure out.
  • Write off your book title.
  • Browse pictures for inspiration
  • If in the middle of a piece, jumping around helped me tremendously. Free yourself from moving in sequential order. Consider what might happen at the end of your piece. Consider twists or surprises you might want to include. Problematize your character. Generate ideas of what could happen next. Pretend you are the reader of your own piece, what would you want to see happen, what would you hate to see happen, and what do you imagine might happen.
  • Definitely get insight from other writers and readers.

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