Updated: Jul 30, 2018
6 Tips for Beating Writer’s Block
I’m sure we’ve all learned that writer’s block does not discriminate. Regardless of what you are writing, there comes a time where you may experience a mental block. In moments like these, words, ideas, and concepts just don’t flow as easily.
Sometimes, I deal with writer’s block when it comes to writing on command (my own form of performance anxiety).
“I used to believe that if I couldn’t get inspired to write, I had to wait and let the inspiration find me.”
Well, there are times inspiration will stand you up! That is why I have stored some tricks up my sleeve for those blocked moments.
1. Sensory Appeal
When you are attempting to bust through the block, you might want to try stimulating your senses to encourage creativity. Sometimes just listening to your favorite song can lighten your mood giving way to creative energy.
You can also get a similar benefit from:
· Eating a healthy and delicious meal—don’t get too full, otherwise you might experience fatigue.
· Adjusting your lighting—a poorly lit environment can affect the chemicals in your brain, causing low mood and fatigue.
· Watching a form of visual art.
That initial generation of word flow can be hard to trigger when our minds are racing with thoughts. Thoughts about: the tasks we have yet to accomplish, the people we need to call back, the emails we must respond to, the shopping we have to do, etc. In moments like that, I find it helpful to clear my mind completely. Meditation allows me to free myself of any thoughts that are occupying my brain, temporarily taking up space. Once I have cleared space in my mind, I am able to approach my writing from a fresh perspective flowing with new ideas.
If you are new to meditation and don’t even know where to begin, I suggest using a guided mediation video. One that I have found helpful for just this situation is Meditation for Writers: Meet Your Muse. Of course, if this one does not help you I encourage you to continue exploring to find one that works for you!
3. Random Writing
Another way to clear out the random thoughts filling up your mind is by writing them down. Our minds can get cluttered—even with good ideas; making it hard to put together a cohesive thought. These instances call for a mental purge, which you do by writing down whatever pops in your head.
Set a timer for ten minutes and write everything in your head, even if it’s your grocery list—just get the blocking thoughts out. After ten minutes of random writing, set your timer for 5 minutes and write any thoughts you have on your writing topic. The thoughts don’t have to flow, they just have to pertain to your topic. This will redirect your brain back to your writing and help spark ideas.
Oftentimes, we can make our writer’s block worse because we get so frustrated that our frustration blocks our creative energy; putting a bigger block between us and productive word-flow. Sometimes if your brain just won’t let you do any actual writing, it will allow you to create your plan.
If you are at the very beginning and are struggling to even get the first thought on the page: that’s ok! Create an outline for your writing piece, sequencing how you want to deliver your information. If you are in the middle of your writing and found you’ve somehow hit a wall: go back and read what you’ve already written. Then make an outline of the next paragraph or section, discussing the key information you want to include. Even if your mind won’t let you partake in the actual writing process, sometimes making your plan is just enough to get the ball rolling.
5. Writing Prompts
It is natural to want to run away from all things writing when you have writer’s block. However, there are times we just need a break from that particular topic. Regardless of our writing topic, to beat the block we need to let our creativity flow. This may mean using writing prompts to help you get your creative energy flowing. This gives you guided help to redirecting your mind away from your topic, giving you a break while allowing you to spark creativity through writing. A great site I use to find writing prompts is 365 Creative Writing Prompts. This site has enough writing prompts for everyday of the year.
One of the many factors attributing to writer’s block is a lack of confidence. This happens when the task is seen as insurmountable. When we subconsciously or consciously deem something impossible, our minds no longer put forth productive effort towards accomplishing it. When that happens, you might notice you can’t seem to come up with fresh new ideas, or the ideas you once had, no longer seem good.
Getting out of this type of block means giving your subconscious brain reason to reinvest in your topic. You do this by using positive visualization.
Visualize yourself finishing the project, whether that be typing your final punctuation, pressing send as you send it off to your editor or publisher, or posting it online. It is important to give your subconscious a clear mental picture of you completing your writing task; showing yourself that completion is attainable. When you make it a possibility, you can get it done.
Using all or some combination of these six techniques can help you bust through your writer’s block and get your words flowing again.
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