Tag Archives: writer’s block

Got 20 minutes a day? Get Writing!

Several months ago, I put a call-out via my newsletter for volunteers to test my new writing app and, having taken their feedback on board and made various adjustments, I’m happy to report that Get Writing! is now available in the Apple store. Woohoo!

The concept is simple. The app takes the traditional method of busting through writer’s block by writing for 20 minutes a day – which you may remember from a previous post Not everyone loves ‘morning pages’ I’m slightly equivocal about – but focuses it so that, after 28 days, instead of a heap of random jottings, you end up with a finished and redrafted story.

There are four sections, each consisting of seven sessions

  1. establishing a daily practice
  2. playing with ideas for characters and settings
  3. writing a short story
  4. crafting and redrafting it

When you have finished, you can go back to the beginning and start again, working your way right through towards a whole new story, or you can use the various sections to dip into as and when you need a nudge with getting going or finding ideas, starting a new story or redrafting one that’s already written.

First review in the Apple store
First review in the Apple store

Depending on sales and reviews, I’d love to develop further writing apps, because the process has been thoroughly enjoyable, and I think an app is a perfect device for delivering daily tasks. As there’s a text box within the app, you don’t even need to be near the computer or have a paper and pen on you – you can dip in any time and anywhere.

Got 20 minutes to spare? Any time, any where!
Any time, anywhere!

Huge thank-you again to all my testers and, if I do develop another one, I’ll be asking for testers via my newsletter again.

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Using Freewriting to Take Down Writers Block, by Bryan Cohen

I’m delighted to welcome my guest today, successful self-publisher, creativity coach and actor, Bryan Cohen, who is tapping the unconscious in the House of Dreams.

Bryan Cohen
Bryan Cohen

The unconscious mind has ways of making you stop. You have a deadline and only a certain number of hours to write a certain number of words. And yet, despite all that pressure, the cursor or blank page is staring at you with all its emptiness. It’s writer’s block, that all encompassing, vague term describing why you can’t get the thoughts you know are in your head onto the page. Writer’s block can strike, even when you’re in a seemingly perfect writing situation. You can have writer’s block even when you have a comfortable chair, a mahogany writing desk and a closed door to keep out all the distractions. The problem of writer’s block seems to exist in the unconscious mind.

In writing and self-publishing 32 books to Amazon, I’ve found one of the tricks to unearthing this unconscious problem. The trick to stopping your unconscious hurdles to writing is to go into your unconscious to determine how to knock them down.

People use freewriting or stream-of-consciousness writing for all sorts of purposes. Freewriting can be an emotional release or it can be a way to capture your thoughts at a particular moment. This activity can also be used to answer a question. If you’re experiencing writer’s block at a subconscious level, you can use freewriting to ask yourself how to defeat the problem.

Setup your freewriting session by sitting in a quiet place with as few distractions as possible. Turn off your phone and switch off the internet on your laptop. Set a timer for 15 minutes (though you can always write longer if desired). Start with a simple question or a “prompt” if you will. For instance, you can ask something along the lines of, “Why do I have issues writing in the afternoon?” Write the first thing that comes into your mind over and continue to write down the thoughts that naturally follow the first thought. Don’t edit yourself, even to correct spelling errors. Let one thought flow into the other. Even if you get off the topic of writers block, let yourself take the trip to keep yourself in stream-of-consciousness mode. If you find yourself looking at the timer or otherwise not writing, get yourself back in the game as quickly as possible. Don’t stop. Push yourself. Even if what you’re writing doesn’t make any sense, keep going at least until the timer goes off.

Here’s what I find happens in nearly all my free writing sessions that begin with a question. I take at least 3 tangents. I also retread a lot of what I’ve said out loud on that particular subject. But in all of that, I find at least one actionable step I can take to solve the problem. It’s a banner day when I come up with three or four possible solutions, but even one method for solving my issue is good enough. Besides, it’s easier to put just one idea into practice anyway.

When I put one of these steam-of-consciousness-generated solutions into practice, it almost always makes an immediate impact. In my opinion, this proves that most unconscious issues have an unconscious solution lying around in your brain alongside it. You just need to do a little digging.

Try starting a free writing session with a question that’s been nagging at you. It could be about writer’s block, weight loss, your relationships, your bank statement or anything at all. As long as you trust yourself to write without censorship during your session, you’re bound to find at least one solution to your unconscious issue.

Try a session on for size and discuss what you come up with in the comments!

About the Author

Bryan Cohen is an author, a creativity coach and an actor. His new book, 1,000 Creative Writing Prompts, Volume 2: More Ideas for Blogs, Scripts, Stories and More is now available on Amazon in digital and paperback format. His other books include 1,000 Creative Writing Prompts, The Post-College Guide to Happiness, and Ted Saves the World. He has published over 30 books, which have sold more than 20,000 copies in total. Connect with him on his website, Build Creative Writing Ideas, on Facebook or on Twitter

1,000 Creative Writing Prompts Volume 2 Cover

In honor of his new book, Bryan is hosting the “1,000 Prompts, 1,000 Dollars” Writing Contest on his website. Click the link to find out how to enter!  Click the next link to check out the rest of Cohen’s blog tour!