Writer’s block. It happens to every writer; the bloggers, the content writers, the novelists, the freelancers, the journalists, the poets, the scholars, the social media marketers and everyone in between who uses words as their creative outlet. If writing is also your method of income, then writer’s block can be a serious stress inducer. In today’s article, we’ll teach you how to stop writer’s block.
Writer’s Block Got You Down?
Writer’s block can cause stress, body aches, anxiety, depression, and loss of confidence, which often leads to more writer’s block. It can be a vicious cycle if you’re not sure how to handle it.
Understanding writer’s block can help you get over it. The best approach is to know what may cause it, what you can do to overcome it, and even how to push through it in times of urgency.
Things That Can Cause Writer’s Block
Here are some of the most common reasons people suffer from writer’s block:
- Tiredness – This can cause a serious case of writer’s block. If your mind, which is the source of your creativity, is over-worked and under-rested, it can be very difficult to feel inspired and stay focused. Your mind may wander quickly from one thing to the next, or in extreme cases of sleep deprivation may just feel empty.
- Fear – Mainly, the fear of critique. It can weigh a person down to worry about what readers will think of your work. Just remember that no matter what, there will always be someone who is critical of your writing, be it content or style. You can’t please everyone all the time. Just be you.
- Perfectionism – This was my primary cause of writer’s block when I first began writing. It took several months, actually, of consistent long page writing to overcome it. Remember that even after you publish, at least for online content, you have the ability to go back and edit or update easily and as often as you want.
- Hunger – It can be very distracting trying to harness your creative energy if you are hungry, and worse yet if you are hangry! Take a break! Eat! Your stomach and your mind will both thank you.
- Burnout – If you’ve been on a writing binge, and haven’t allowed yourself a mental break, you may find that you’ve hit a wall, and it’s a thick, concrete wall. It’s great when the words are flowing, and I’ve definitely experienced times when I find it hard to stop. You don’t want to lose your momentum when you’re on a good roll! That’s okay. Go with it! Write your heart out! But when you reach a point where you finally feel like your thoughts are returning to a normal pace, give yourself a rest. Your future self depends on it!
Don’t Wait for Inspiration
Inspiration won’t just appear out of nowhere. You have to fuel the fire that is your creative process! Writing is an art form. What you create will be in it’s best form if created naturally and authentically. No, those are not the same.
By naturally, I mean, let your words flow as they come to you. Don’t force the words upon your keyboard or paper. If it’s taking too much effort, then it’s time for a break.
By authentically, I mean uniquely yours. Make it your own. YOU are the reason for your readers.
So if you’re struggling to write, and what’s coming out of you isn’t really you, then you need to find a little inspiration!
Try looking out the window, and observe what’s going on around you. Nature is often quite inspiring, merely by viewing it. Read a book. Read some life or success quotes. Browse online for something new and interesting to read or watch. Watch a short documentary. Listen to some fun, upbeat music.
These are all things that I use for inspiration. What inspires you?
How to Overcome Writer’s Block
There are many solutions! Sometimes, you just have to jump start your think tank. If possible, it’s a good idea to step away from your work completely.
Here are some activities you can try to re-engage your inner artist:
If you prefer more laid back methods, or indoor methods, you can try deep breathing techniques, relaxation yoga, meditation, music, or reading. When you’re not writing, what’s your creative outlet? Switch things up a bit. Spend some time on a hobby. Work on a jigsaw puzzle. Cook!
Try a cup of hot coffee or tea. Warm beverages often provide a feeling of comfort, which can de-stress, and the little bit of caffeine may jog your memory enough to get your idea train rolling again. Of course, you can opt for a decaffeinated version and still benefit from the comfort of a warm drink.
If you are a fan of more active methods, or of the outdoors, you can try sitting outside, going for a walk, a run, a hike, or a bike ride. Play outside for a bit with your kids or dog. Fresh air can be invigorating, and exercise gets the blood flowing, which can give you the energy your mind needs to function in a creative way.
If you have an extended timeline, why not take the day off? Change your day completely! Go out to lunch with a friend. Go see a movie. Take your dog to the park. Take your kids to a science museum. Or, don’t go anywhere! Just relax at home.
[ One of my go-to’s is to turn on some loud music, and vacuum. Not kidding! The combination of music, blood flow, and productivity recharges me. It kind of follows the old “make your bed each morning” trick. If you start your day with a completed task, no matter how small, it sets the tone for the entire day. Fifteen minutes behind the vacuum, and I’ve completed a task, which makes me crave another completed task, which inevitably fires me up enough to get me back to the keyboard. Magic words here: COMPLETE A TASK! ]
The point is to change your surroundings. Your environment can have a great effect on your focus and productivity.
So, get out of your writing space for a while!
If the thought of walking away gives you anxiety (and I can relate), then try doing a little more research on your topic. You may just come across something different that triggers a chain reaction of new thoughts and ideas. Going back into brainstorming mode can sometimes give you the Aha(!) moment you need to get back to writing. Or, if you must continue writing, write about something completely different, then go back to your main subject with fresh eyes.
Need That Article Done by the End of the Day?
What can you do if you don’t have time to try the methods above? Have stress and anxiety already set in?
If you have a deadline that you’re pressed to meet, and need to get the juices flowing fast, then you need to have a plan in place! Nothing is worse than suffering writer’s block at the most inopportune time.
Have A Plan:
First off, writer’s typically have a collection of keywords, a list of phrases, a line-up of topics, or even an idea journal at the ready. The words, phrases, and ideas are then grouped by related terms or subtopics, so that when you need additional content, you can browse through your list and quickly select a starting point. So preemptively do yourself a favor, and have several ideas on the hot plate.
Next, having a page or post template ready to go can really help. If you’re creating online content, use these basic post guidelines as your outline: an SEO friendly title and a minimum of 5 headings with a minimum of 1000 words. If you’re creating offline content, use a bulletpoint format, then expand as the details come to you.
It may seem like a daunting task to meet even 1000 words when writer’s block has set in, but if you take it step by step, you’ll find your word mojo in no time.
Have a Routine:
Open your template, and start by simply writing down your initial thoughts or questions related to your topic. These will soon be morphed into your headings.
Once you have at least 5 headings that you’re happy with, then start writing thoughts or ideas about each heading.
Once you have some thoughts and ideas about each heading, well… look at that! You’re writing!
It may seem incredibly simple, and it is, really. Break up what feels like an impossible task into smaller achievable steps, and soon you’ll find yourself back on track.
If you need some help with ideas, you can open a browser, search your topic, and read a couple of articles by other writers to get some direction. Be careful not to use their content, though. You don’t want to copy someone else’s work, and it’s important that you provide your own unique content. Remember, YOU are the reason for your readers.
Another trick is to change up your medium, or your style. If you typically write in an office on a desktop, try some laptop work in the kitchen. Give your eyes something different to look at by using a different font or font size. I like to change my text color to dark purple to give my eyes a break from black and white. Of course, when I’m done, I simply change it back to black.
Final Thoughts on Writer’s Block
Writer’s block can be extremely frustrating, but if you have a plan in place that includes recognizing your cause, and steps to remedy the situation, then you can defeat it. It may take you a few “sessions” to discover what works for you, but once you find it, you can get over writer’s block faster the next time.
Keep in mind that you will likely experience different causes each time, and, therefore, will need to respond with a different approach to each scenario. Don’t let it get you down. Beat it!
Next time you suffer writer’s block, try to identify the cause, try the solutions above, and see what it takes for you to overcome it. Happy writing!
I hope you found this article helpful. If you have a cause, or a solution, for writer’s block that you’d like to share, please do so in the Comments section below!
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