By Sabrina Berndt
Although I am not a writer myself, I have plenty of friends and family members who do consider themselves writers. Sometimes they fall into a slump and don’t know how to get past their writer’s block. This is completely natural, but people tend to believe there’s nothing they can do to help. Today we’ll look at what you can do to help the writers’ in your friends and family conquer their writer’s block and keep telling their story.
Be their cheerleader
Sometimes writers just want to feel appreciated. Especially if they’re unpublished, it’s hard to stay encouraged although their hay-day may be on the horizon. Or they simply get stuck and can’t seem to get around the dreaded writer’s block, which plagues every writer. Don’t be afraid to compliment them on their hard work and the piece itself. Writers have a difficult job, as we all know. It’s no easy task to create a place where readers forget reality and lose themselves in their story. If a writer you know is having a hard time, compliment them on their unique ideas and encourage them to tell their story. Whip out your pom-poms, sing them a song, whatever you need to do to make their day and break out their computer (or typewriter, we don’t judge).
Do not critique their work – Unless asked
When writers are stuck, the last thing they need is for someone to critically judge their work. Unless they ask for truthful comments, avoid saying anything negative about their piece. Criticizing their work may further discourage them. If they do request feedback, frame your comments carefully and keep them positive.
Give them a push – without being pushy
The writer may just need a push in the right direction, whether this means setting up a reward system to encourage their work or giving them their space to write.
Rewards are a big motivator. Like studying, writers can benefit from setting small goals and rewards. If a writer you know cannot seem to get back in their groove, a reward system may help. For example, if the writer sets a goal of meeting 5,000 words in a day, you may reward them by going out later that night. Small stepping-stones help keep people encouraged, especially those who can’t seem to find motivation or inspiration.
Giving your writer their own time and space can help them find their focus on their own ideas and story. Encourage them to turn off their phones and notifications on their computers, separating themselves from any distractions that may affect their mindset. You can also suggest a writing class or workshop where they can find other writers with valuable feedback and suggestions to stay motivated.
Writers are not invincible or insusceptible to the occasional mind block. As their supporter, all you can do is try to keep them motivated and focused, even if that means threatening them with washing the dishes if these tips don’t help!
Sabrina is an intern at Holloway Literary.