Have you found yourself stuck in your writing? Perhaps your pen was flying across the page, and then it seems as if, suddenly, the creativity has run dry? This experience is commonly known as writer's block. It may be discouraging and even frustrating, but you are not alone. Writer's block is a normal sensation. To help get past this roadblock in your writing, consider the following tips!
Freewriting can be extremely helpful to plow through writer's block. The idea is to set a time limit (we recommend starting with 5 or 10 minutes) and just write. It does not have to be on the topic you were writing about before or even make much sense. Just get words and sentences on paper. This has been known to help inspire new ideas or get past those that were holding you back. Some of the most significant issues with writer's block are self-criticism and doubt, which prevent you from putting pen to paper in fear of anything you write being unworthy of saving. Sometimes, it helps to see it on paper, progress, and you can always go back and edit later.
9. Make a Habit of Writing
We can't expect to perform at our best on activities we don't practice. Therefore, we shouldn't expect to write like a pro when we rarely and infrequently work at it. This doesn't mean writing has to be a burden, but it is helpful to make a habit of writing for even a small set of time every day, or even every week. Write regularly and train your brain to think creatively.
8. Don't Think about Writing
Step away from your writing. Focus on anything else for a while. You may have tried so hard to think of the next words that it is too difficult to be creative and accept new ideas.
Turn on some music, take a shower, go for a walk, watch a movie, cook a meal, or play an instrument. Do something to take your mind off the writing and engage in the world around you. You might find that inspiration can strike at the most unexpected moments and that your mind will be clear when you return to the desk.
There is a powerful correlation between an active body and an active mind. Next time you are stuck in your writing, take a walk, go for a jog, swim, or whatever you prefer to get the blood pumping. You might be surprised when it feels as if your mind has been re-set the next time you sit down to write.
Nothing forces your brain to think differently, quite like learning a foreign language. In learning a new language, you have to think through sentence structures, vocabulary, and the multiple possibilities for how to best say a particular thought. Parts of language learning a pattern-based and almost mathematical or formulaic. At the same time, it requires a high level of creativity and can be similar to solving a puzzle.
Try translating your writing into another language, writing the next paragraph in another language, or even just reading a foreign language for a while. This trick can help unclog your mind and discover the path to continue your writing.
Want help getting started with learning a new language? Check out our blogs:
5. Don't Be Too Hard on Yourself
Your writing doesn't have to be perfect. Especially not as you are writing the first draft. It is always easier to get the ideas out and edit later, as needed. Stop searching so hard for the perfect words and phrases. Don't question your progress while you are writing. Don't let writer's block win over the desire for your writing to be perfect.
4. Change Your Scenery
Go to a different room of your home, set up at the library, write at a coffee shop, or even sit at a park outside. Stop looking at the same blank wall, and take in more of the world around you while writing. Are you worried about not being able to carry your computer and use it outside? Switch to pen and paper! Changing the medium you write with can also help with writer's block, forcing your brain to work differently.
3. Look at it Differently
Use a different point of view. Ask yourself questions like:
- What would my favorite writer say?
- How would a different character solve this problem?
- How would various friends or family members react to this?
- What would my favorite TV/movie/book characters do?
Thinking from a different perspective can help you get past your self-criticisms and thoughts that nothing is good enough. It can also help unlock creative solutions that you might not typically think of.
2. Draw it out
Writing and drawing both exercise your brain differently. When you are stuck for words, consider sketching it instead. You may find this helps to unblock your mind. Or, you might even decide to include the graphic in your writing as it adds value to what you were trying to write or describe.
Again, it doesn't have to be perfect. Just the act of thinking differently might open the creative pathways to the rest of your writing.
1. Skip Ahead
Often, writer's block occurs because you don't know how to write the next part of the story or article. Instead, jump ahead. Try writing the end first. Then, work backward and connect the dots. Know where you are trying to go with your writing, and you might find creative new ways and inspiration to get there.
Whatever the reason for your writer's block, try these tips, and set your mind free. Experiment with different strategies over time and discover which techniques work best for you. Then let us know in the comments below - how do you best overcome your writer's block?
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