Friday, June 28, 2013

5 Tips for overcoming Writer’s Block … when you’re on a deadline by Joanne Bischof

Joanne Bischof

A writer’s journey doesn’t end with publication. It’s ongoing . . . and as you move down the road as a published author, there will always be more challenges to face. You may have experienced the freedom to “take your time” with the first book, but chances are, you won’t with the second or third. Author Joanne Bischof offers tips and encouraging words for those times you find yourself staring at the computer screen. ~ Dawn

5 Tips for overcoming Writer’s Block … 
when you’re on a deadline

1.  Get away from the project
Sometimes the key to unlocking writers block is a little distance. Whether it’s a walk, playing tag with the kids or time out with friends, a little distance gives our minds a chance to rest from the strain of what we’re trying to accomplish with writing. A few hours of a different activity can have us returning to our story with a fresh perspective and most likely, a recharged spirit.

2. Get an outsider’s opinion
A good critique partner can give us a fresh look at something we’re stuck on. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve emailed a scene to a trusted friend who can help untangle some of the knots I’ve tied myself up in. To hear encouragement or suggestions from another person can help us see when we’ve perhaps been spinning in circles by fretting over a scene that’s in good shape, or they can point out opportunities where it can be stronger. When we’re stuck with writer’s block, a trusted writing friend can be priceless in helping us take those next steps forward.

3. Search for good story
Set your own work aside and throw yourself into a good story. Whether it’s a book or a movie, simply allow yourself to melt into the telling of a great tale. As you watch or read, think about what it is that’s drawing you in. What’s connecting you to the characters? The setting? Are you feeling an emotional pull of some kind? What elements are fueling that? Taking note of these concepts can sometimes be the key to giving you some building blocks to ponder as you turn back to your own project.

4. Break it down
You know the phrase, “baby steps”? Don’t be afraid to take them. If the idea of an 85,000 word story or even a 1000 word article is making you hyperventilate, try breaking it down. I’ve been in this place several times and one thing I like to do is isolate a single paragraph. I’ll often make the font a different color, say dark blue instead of black, and seeing it stand out like that, I think to myself, “I can handle this one paragraph. I can make it shine.” Focus in and let the rest of the story fade away. Sometimes conquering one paragraph at a time for a short while can bolster your confidence again and help you find your writing feet!

5. When moving on isn’t an option
“Move on. Do something else for a while.” Easily said, but sometimes, it’s just not an option. When a project is due in several days or even several hours, this is when the going gets tough. The rubber meets the road. You realize you just used two clichés in a row and you want to bang your head against the desk. Take a deep breath. In the fall of 2012, the first book in my Appalachian romance series was published. By fall of 2013, two more books will join the series. That’s three books in exactly one year’s time. I tell you that so you know you’re not alone if you’ve been struggling with writer’s block. I’ve been in the position where an 85,000 word manuscript is due in hours and I’m so far behind it seems impossible. I don’t have any handy tips or tricks for this moment, except for the reminder that if it were easy … everyone would do it. Keep your head up and hang in there. Write something that’s true. Write something that’s from your heart. Remember that you’re here for a reason: because of what your words can do, and have the possibility to do—to reach others with the power of story.

Be Still My Soul     
Be Still My Soul

"Bischof kicks off her Cadence of Grace series with a tale of love blossoming in the most daunting circumstances. A gem..." Publishers Weekly

Pretty Lonnie Sawyer is shy and innocent, used to fading into the background within her family, and among the creeks and hollows of the Appalachian hills. Though her family is poor and her father abusive, she clings to a quiet faith.  But when handsome ladies’ man and bluegrass musician Gideon O’Riley steals a kiss, that one action seals her fate. 

Her father forces her into a hasty marriage with Gideon—a man she barely knows and does not love. Equally frustrated and confused by his new responsibilities, Gideon yearns for a fresh start, forcing  Lonnie on an arduous journey away from her home in Rocky Knob.

Her distant groom can’t seem to surrender his rage at the injustice of the forced matrimony or give Lonnie any claim in his life.  What will it take for Gideon to give up his past, embrace Lonnie’s God, and discover a hope that can heal their two fractured hearts?

Gideon only ever cared about himself. Now that Lonnie is his wife, will he ever be worthy of her heart?

Christy Award-finalist and author of Be Still My Soul and Though My Heart is Torn, Joanne Bischof has a deep passion for Appalachian culture and writing stories that shines light on God’s grace and goodness. She lives in the mountains of Southern California with her husband and their three children. When she’s not weaving Appalachian romance, she’s blogging about faith, folk music, and the adventures of country living that bring her stories to life.    

You can visit her website at  and Facebook page at