Writer’s block is inescapable and happens to nearly everyone. Regardless of whether you are a prolific writer or amateur, sometimes putting down your thoughts on paper or a blank computer screen can be an uphill battle. If you have ever experienced it, you will probably agree that writer’s block can leave you stuck. In this article, we hope to give you some creative ways to overcome writer’s block so you can get back to writing.
You may have faced writer’s block when you first started writing or after you’ve already written several chapters. It doesn’t matter; it affects us in the same way. Writer’s block traps your mind, leaving you with little creative ability. Despite knowing what to say, it becomes hard to put it in words.
Common Causes of Writer’s Block
The common causes of writer’s block include poor timing, perfectionism, and fear.
- Poor timing: Sometimes you feel that it is not the right time to do your writing or you are just too late in writing your piece. This is when you lose your ideas, and you end up procrastinating. Usually, in this case, you may need to spend some time processing your ideas.
- The idea of perfectionism: This is when you want your writing to be perfect. You end up spending too much time fleshing out your ideas. Perfectionism can be very tempting, but if your writing isn’t done correctly, you may end up writing nothing at the end.
- Fear: This is horrible and happens to all of us. You don’t want your audience and others to criticize your piece. In fact, fear, even the mere thought of it, is the big reason why most of the potential writers never take the first move.
However, writer’s block is a temporary problem that happens to everyone including beginner, intermediate, and experienced writers. The good thing is that it is possible and easy to break writer’s block. For centuries, writers from all over the globe have come up with solutions on how to overcome writer’s block. Here are ten tips on overcoming writer’s block.
Tips to Overcome Writer’s Block
Mind-mapping involves outlining all of the relevant things to include in your piece which gives you a head start. Mind-mapping connects your ideas with your main theme. It ensures that your information is organized and planned so that you can come up with structured content.
Mind-mapping relates to how your brain works. It is both analytical and artistic which helps make your brain work better. Mind-mapping makes your writing fun and drives away writer’s block since you can keep expanding on your ideas as the mind map grows. Even if you are handling a tough subject, mind-mapping enables you to gain insight making sure that you never get stuck.
To get started with mind mapping, you can find some great resources here.
2. Just start writing to break writer’s block
It sounds weird, doesn’t it? But it works. It is better to write something than to do nothing. Start by doing a free writing. Put down in writing anything that comes to your mind. Even if it is crap, gibberish, or junk. The muses and fears will soon vanish if you start writing right away. Never mind about the binding chains of perfectionism. If it is garbage, you can just delete or erase it later.
3. Go for a walk to get your blood flowing
Exercise is essential in balancing your work and your psychological, emotional, and physical health. Leading an active lifestyle is the best thing for any writer. It makes your blood flow well through your brain to keep your creative juices active. Among the exercises that can help you write better include walking, jogging, and biking. By the time you come back to your workstation after your workout your head will be clear. Ideas will flow easily when you have a fresh mind.
4. Just write about the big picture
Make your writing exciting. Just look at the big picture and read as much information as possible. This can make your research interesting, and you can remain motivated throughout. Make your writing loose and never worry about simple mistakes like grammar in the first draft. Again, just write even if it means starting your writing in the middle. The thing here is making the first move. Remember that a game becomes interesting after you start playing. Similarly, you can break the fears in your writing adventure by just starting to write.
5. Get help in the areas that make you stuck
It is common to get stuck if you are tackling a big or unfamiliar subject. If you ever get stuck and have no way out, try seeking help from another writer. Identify those gaps that made your project come to a standstill and ask for advice on how to get through it. Panic will never solve anything, in fact, it will just waste your time. The sooner you find help, the faster you can get back to writing.
6. Change your writing environment
Swapping your surroundings can work wonders in fighting writer’s block. Go outside your office to a silent place outside or to a park. If you enjoy the cafe vibe, find a local coffee shop with wifi. Sometimes distractions around you can be the source of your inability to write best.
The focus is vital for flawless writing. Go to a place where your sole intention is to write. Also, leave your phone behind and unplug from the internet. Emails and other notifications can easily distract you from writing. Additionally, start your writing early when your mind is fresh in the early morning. Facebook statuses and emails can put you into a reaction mode, distracting you from your writing.
7. File and handle it later
If your writing is not due soon, then plan your time. If you are getting bored or stuck, give it time and do other things first. Doing things in pieces can make your writing fun and exciting. You’ll complete your writing naturally without ever getting stuck or frustrated. Take a smart approach and get things done the easy way. A great tool I use to bucket my time is Tomato Timer.
8. A cup of coffee can do you good
It works for most of us. If you have a strict timetable and don’t have enough time to exercise, then coffee can be a quick solution. Work on your piece as you sip your coffee. It keeps your mind active so that you can continue to be creative and fight through the writer’s block.
9. Have a notepad to jot down ideas
Despite focusing our minds on one thing, our brains never stop wandering. If something important and related to your topic comes to mind, jot it down so you can think about it later. Once you’ve written down your thought, forget about it until you are finished with your current writing. A Moleskine notebook is a great way to jot down these notes.
10. Alternate your writing with rest
Your brain is not a machine, and it will get tired and wear out. Take regular breaks and let your mind rest. Research shows that human mind is more creative when it is at rest. Get a full nights sleep and take naps when you need to. Also, make sure you take regular breaks throughout the day. I mentioned the tool I use, Tomator Timer, above which is a great way to schedule your breaks.
Writer’s block happens to all of us. Nothing frustrates us more than staring at a blank piece of paper or computer screen and not knowing where to start. However, you have to push through the writer’s block and not allow it to paralyze your writing. We have talked about ten ways to help you overcome the hurdle of writer’s block.