How to Move Past Writer’s Block
I don’t fancy myself a writer. However, like many of us, I do write a great deal. From a blog and social media posts to web site copy, I put pen to paper (so to speak) on a daily basis. Sometimes the ideas and words come easily. Other times not so much. I know I’m not alone here. Almost everyone has experienced writer’s block at one point or another. The good news is that, although it can seem like it, writer’s block doesn’t last forever. But let’s face it. A creative slowdown never feels good…and neither does a blank screen. So if you’re feeling stuck, here are a few suggestions to help put an end to your writing rut.
Take a page from your own book. When you are looking for a little inspo, look no further than your own story. What activities, occasions, places, people and/or situations in your life might make for an interesting read? I keep an electronic notepad and write down different thoughts, ideas and light bulb moments that come to me throughout the day. Often these random notes provide me with material when my writing well is dry.
Eavesdrop a little. I know it may be a wee bit impolite but we all do it from time to time. So why not use something that someone else has alluded to, said or done as a catalyst for creativity? Let me be clear here. I’m not suggesting taking someone else’s story verbatim but rather allowing a soundbite of information to stimulate your creative juices. By the way a spark from others can come, not just from what we hear, but also what we see. I can’t tell you how many style posts I’ve written because I was inspired by what someone else was wearing.
Get up and get moving. Usually starting at an empty page does little to help the situation. Instead step away from your desk and do something physical. Talk a stretch break, walk around the block, hit the gym or do anything else that gets your blood pumping. Maybe it’s the extra oxygen flowing to your brain or simply just being in motion, but either way a little physical activity can help move your thoughts and writing move forward.
Opt for a change of scenery. We are creatures of habit. Chances are you always write in the same location. New surroundings can breathe new life into your writing so try to mix things up a bit. Do you always write at home? Pack up your laptop and head to the nearest coffee shop, park or plaza. If being with others is a distraction, you can still switch the room or furniture in which you write. You might also consider changing what is in your direct line of vision. For instance, if you’re writing about Paris, try looking at a picture of a Parisian café or the Eiffel tower instead of your normal knick-knacks.
Bide your time. We all have what I call peak performance times. Pay attention to when you are most prolific and conversely when you are not. My best writing happens when I first wake up but it is different for everyone. While on the subject of time, think about how much of it you need to get the job done. Do you like to give yourself more time and ease into an assignment or do you work best under pressure? For me more time equals a higher likelihood of writer’s block so I often set “artificial” deadlines to keep me on my toes.
Plant the seed while you sleep. Your subconscious mind is always at work, even when you’re asleep. So when I’m at an impasse with my writing, I will think about it briefly before bed. There’s a complicated reason why this works (it has to do something with theta brainwaves), but suffice to say I almost always wake up with a workable idea or an action step. For the highest chance of success, try not to overthink your block and frame it in a way that sets you up for success. I will often hold the thought in my mind that I am confident I will have a solution in the morning. I may even go as far as to imagine how I will feel when the block is behind me.
Ironically enough there is a lot that has been written about writer’s block. However writing is by no means an exact science. So try a few tactics and see what works best for you. Write on~