Writer’s Block: Start Small, Change Venue

My writing partner and I have a weekly accountability call. Every Thursday night we talk about what we’ve accomplished in the previous week and what our goals are for the week to come.

Before I left for vacation I promised her that I would write one new scene. Maybe 500 words. That’s it. A small commitment to get me back into writing the novel after a long break from it.

Five days into a new accountability week (and the distractions of vacation) I hadn’t put down one word toward the scene I set as my goal.

As I sat on the plane heading West I tried again to read through my manuscript only to find it made me sleepy. That’s not necessarily a commentary on the quality of the story as much as it could be a reflection on traveling in recycled air.

I closed my eyes intent of taking a nap. But that’s when insight came. I was so excited. I pulled out my notebook and pen scribing 175 words. A small step forward.

Then 2 days later sitting in my hotel room while my family slept another 150 words flowed. Renewed inspiration when I least expected it. A small move in the right direction.

All I can think of is finishing this scene to see how it changes the story. I keep thinking about where I left off and wondering, “What’s next?”

Since returning I’ve finished reading through my manuscript (without falling asleep). New story are lines spinning around in my mind. A small spider web of thoughts has started to form.

Two weeks away from home, my sofa, and writing at night after the boys are in bed. I added 800 new words. It sounds small but it serves as a new beginning especially when 0 words were added in a two-month time frame.

My point, in sharing this breakthrough, is that one way to move forward, move past the block, is to change venue. You don’t have to take a trip like I did. Start small. Sit in a different seat at the table. Go to a coffee shop. Pick a different time of day. Does the change in scenery change your perspective in your writing?

Being outside of my regular writing routine was wonderful, because it provided a small flash of creative light that I may not have experienced otherwise.


  1. well then. should’ve read this earlier. thanks for sharing. and I’m with you – community spurs activity in me. accountability is my fuel. can’t wait to read the spider web that has formed.

  2. Very nice! I sometimes feel the same way as well. If I’m writing a short story, change of atmosphere always helps me freshen up too.

  3. The concept of a writing partner seems so strange to me … I’ve always worked alone. In fact, i absolutely require that I be left alone. I emerge intermittently to deal with physical necessities — food, bathroom and even occasional sleep. I think I have only two modes: full forward thrust and hibernation! We all have our own processes … so very individual … each of us has to do it the way we have to do it. I think we’re just wired a certain way!

    • Amazing things can be born in community. I would have quit and put my current project on a shelf if not for this encouraging and wonderful partner who’s on her own writing journey. When blocks fall into my path she helps me build bridges with them back to my story by asking questions, reminding me of what I said I wanted. If it didn’t work for me I’d have worked my way out of it. LOL!


  1. […] Changing venue helped but I needed to take another step. Increase my stride. Move at a faster pace. Cover via Amazon […]

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