How do you defeat writer’s block?

Everyone has those days when they show up and sit down to write and their brain, for whatever reason, just says, “I can’t.”

For years I didn’t have a solution to this problem beyond beating my head against the keyboard until a few paltry words fell out.

Then, as I walked away from another disappointing writing session with my brain chanting, “I can’t, I can’t, I can’t…” I stopped and said to myself, “Okay. I can’t write today. But if I could, what would I write?”

And suddenly there burst forth a flood of fresh ideas, dialogue, and fully-formed prose that sent me scurrying back to my keyboard to write it all down.

Rather than arguing with my insecurities and defeatism, I’ve found that allowing myself to have those feelings rather than denying them – and following up with the gentle question of, “What if we could, what would we do?” – can trick my brain into working again.

Will this work for you? I don’t know. You don’t have my brain and I don’t have yours. But for me, tricking myself into treating it as a thought exercise rather than wallowing in personal failure has instantly unblocked me more times than I can count.

What about you? How do you defeat writer’s block?