Thanks to Stumbleupon, I've found the ultimate tool to break through writer's block!
I've written before in my post Beating Writer's Block about the importance of freewriting. In my opinion, one of the best ways to break through a writing dry spell is just to start writing and get as many words on the page as you can without rewriting, rereading, or judging.
When I was at my writing residency in Halifax last month, we started just about every morning with a timed freewriting exercise. Our instructor would give us a topic and set a timer for 3 minutes or 5 minutes or 7 minutes and we would simply have to write as many words as we could before the timer went off. This is a quick and easy way to get yourself writing and start your day already having created something.
The problem that most people face when they try freewriting, (especially when they don't have a teacher looking over them), is that they can't help going back and editing themselves. But that defeats the purpose of the exercise. If you're suffering from writer's block, the most important thing is to get the words down on the page. If you keep stopping yourself to tweak every little thing, you'll never break through that barrier.
So onto the Ultimate Tool...
BlindWrite is a simple website designed to help you freewrite. You start by entering the topic you want to write about, then you set the timer for however long you'd like. Next you're brought to a simple webpage where you can type away until the timer stops. The real trick is that BlindWrite blocks out everything you've written so you can't reread it or edit it until after the time is up! The only thing you can do is write write write! Once that clock winds down you can see what you've written and you have the option to edit your work or to block it all out again and keep writing.
I used BlindWrite a lot this past month because I was struggling to flesh out some sections of my book. I decided the best thing would be to do some freewriting on the topics I wanted to expand upon so that I could have some fresh material to work with. BlindWrite was really helpful because it allowed me to write more freely. By writing in a platform separate from my manuscript document I felt less encumbered by what I'd already written. And by blocking out what I was writing, I was able to finally turn off my critical eye and just write.
Have you tried BlindWrite? What are your favourite writing tricks or tools?