30 Tips for Beating Writer’s Block, and a Final Giveaway

Ulysses is a sponsor of NaNoWriMo 2016, and we’re inviting all participants to write their novels with Ulysses (for free). Our offer also includes an introductory video, a free email course to get the most of Ulysses, and app giveaways during the NaNoWriMo season.

Last week we asked you to share your best tip for dealing with writer’s block in a Facebook comment — the results were amazing. Thanks to anyone who participated! The tips are so manifold that they should help any writer to lift their blockade. So, this may come a little late for this year’s NaNoWriMo, but you’re invited to keep our compilation for upcoming writing challenges.

You Can’t Write? Fix Your Setup!

  • Make sure to write in a comfortable, inspiring atmosphere.
  • Write in full screen.
  • Turn notifications off.

You Can’t Write? Well, Write Anyway!

  • Write anyway, and anything.
  • Write non-linearly.
  • Write about the writing.
  • Explore your characters in an unrelated context.
  • Force yourself to write at least one sentence.
  • Pretend that you’re not stuck: paste some lorem ipsum paragraph at the beginning of the text and see if it gets you going.
  • Set a timer and write without stopping.
  • Turn on music and write in its rhythm.
  • Turn off the computer and write with a pen.
  • Walk away from your desk and write on the sofa. Or in the bathroom.
  • Adults-only: Get a drink, and write.
  • Set a writing goal and reward yourself with candies when you achieved it.
  • Find someone for a writing challenge and compete against each other.

You Can’t Write? Do Something Else That’s Related to Your Story!

  • Make a music playlist for your character, or a Pinterest board.
  • Make some light revision of what you’ve written yesterday.
  • Stop writing, outline instead.
  • Stop writing, research instead.
  • Talk to friends about your writing.
  • Get inspiration about the writing process: read a book, listen to a podcast, or watch a video about writing.

You Can’t Write? Take a Break!

  • Go and get a coffee.
  • Go for a run.
  • Go for a walk.
  • Take a shower.
  • Prepare a cake.
  • Sleep on it, or take a power nap.
  • Meditate.
  • Call your muse.

You can’t write? Follow These Winning Advices!

“Nulla dies sine linea” – I don't remember where I read this quote, but it means to write at least one sentence per day. No matter if you want to, feel like it or know what to write. Just take your text and add one more sentence. And when you're already on it, maybe some more… — Angelika Mühlnikel

My tip: Vomit draft – Named for basically just throwing up on a page and not cleaning up. Just keep writing ignoring spelling, grammar, even making sense. You can always fix all of that later editing, just get your ideas down on paper. Just. Write. — Phil Hanson

My problem is that I think over every phrase and slow progress destroys all desire to write more. But lately, I apply this approach: start writing, write very quickly, without stopping. Invented a legend that if you stop for more than 10 seconds the entire written text will disappear. First, it turns out not much, but over time the brain enters a state of flux. — Nikita Velit

Step away from your project, open a new sheet, and come up with a youtube-style “X tries Y for the first time” premise. This is Gandalf trying pizza for the first time: The wizard peered down at the flatbread, looking carefully at the melange of cheese and red tomato, meat and vegetable. “More curious than appetizing,” he said, finally, “but I can see the nature of it….” — Eric A. Burns-White

Use the time you would be WRITING to research what you are writing about. If you are writing a historical novel, research the time period even more deeply. Read short stories from the time. Dive into that time period and explore — and often in that exploration there will be shift or a discovery that will ignite your creativity once again. — Ken Wolf

Congratulations to the five winners!

NaNoWriMo 2016: The Final Giveaway

Today is November 30, and you may be just hacking the last 1.000 words into your keyboard. We would like to celebrate this occasion with a final giveaway aimed at our Twitter pals out there.

Here is how it works:

  1. From within Ulysses, share your NaNoWriMo goal with us, using Ulysses’ writing goal feature.
  2. Craft a tweet explaining why you think Ulysses is a great app for tackling NaNoWriMo.
  3. Include the tags #NaNoWriMo and @ulyssesapp with your tweet.
  4. Share the goal image and the tweet via Twitter until December 7, 2016.
  5. The winners will be chosen at random.

Good luck! And congratulations to surviving NaNoWriMo!

Update December 9, 2016: The winners have been determined and will be informed. Congratulations to Stefan Wijna, Hailee, Corinne Demyanovich, Brandy Bernard and “the traveling curl”.

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Rebekka Honeit

Blog-curating writing maniac and public relations person. Loves coffee, chocolate cookies and literature. Finds peace in tweaking press copy.