Often times, the hardest part about writing is not actually writing, formulating the right scenes, or developing your characters. Sometimes the hardest thing about writing is the simple process of getting started. If you know you have to write something, you might find yourself sitting down, getting back up, or browsing through Facebook before any magic happens. And, sometimes, you just wait for the magic to happen and find yourself getting more and more frustrated in the process. No, nothing is wrong with you, and you are not any less a writer than you were last week. You simply have writers block.
If you feel like you are trying to run up an escalator the next time you have to write, we have some great tips on overcoming and combating that pesky wall between you and a great sentence, otherwise known as writer’s block.
Tips for Overcoming Writer’s Block
Move: The process of writing does not involve much moving, and if you have been sitting trying to come up with some good ideas for the past few hours, chances are your blood is not moving at all. Any type of exercise of movement for 20 to 30 minutes is a good way to attempt to clear your head and get your creative juices flowing again. Go for a walk, hit the gym, or ride your bike around the block a few times. Remember that creating balance in your life is key to strengthening and maintaining a healthy and productive mind.
Relocate: If you have been sitting in your office or room trying to write, consider changing your scenery. When your scenery changes, your senses will take a hit of fresh air and different colors, sounds, and smells will become apart. A change in your surroundings can work to provoke some wonderful new writing ideas. However, keep in mind that you should find a place that is peaceful and void of any heavy distractions, such as: phones, email, or television.
Unplug: This might be hard if you need to do research, but once you are done with it, logoff. Yes, that means closing Facebook too. The internet can be a huge distraction when we are trying to write, especially with all the social media that we might be logged onto. Turning off the internet will force you to focus on the task at hand, and you should be generating some ideas in no time.
Start early: You might find that you creative juices come to you best at night, but consider working on the hardest things early on in the morning. The first thing you should do when you get up is not check Twitter or your Instagram page – it should be getting to work. Start with your most complex task first thing in the morning, and by evening, you should still have some brain power left to tackle the easier stuff.
Music: If you want to distract yourself from your own thoughts to start again with a clear mind, listen to some music. A few beautiful tunes and soulful melodies might be enough to kick your writing bug back into full gear. Instrumental music can also help spark some creative juices in your mind. Choose music that will distract you in a good way.
Start somewhere else: If you are trying to start at the beginning of your story, consider writing something for the middle or the end now instead. If you begin somewhere else, it is likely that you will spark some ideas or create connections that can flow towards the beginning of your story. This could help things fall into place more easily.
Free write: You might be having trouble writing about a certain thing or topic. If this is the case, consider free writing. Just take out a pen and paper, and write about anything: how frustrated you are, what you had for dinner, or what you plan on doing this weekend. You can even write a journal entry. Simply putting some thoughts onto paper can help start to get your inner dialogue going.
Get Coffee: So, say you do not have the time or energy to go on a nature hike or the patience to listen to music. If you really want to get your mind up and jumping, make a cup of coffee. Caffeine is a sure-fire way to get your mind working and wake you up from whatever slump you might be in. Just make sure that once you are wired, you do not try doing a bunch of different things at once, or you might go completely off topic with your writing.
Outline: Remember when your teacher had you make an outline before you wrote any essay in junior high school and high school? Well, it may be time to bring the old outline back. By outlining your ideas and the main points you want to talk about, you will be able to see manageable chunks that you have to work with.
Read: There are so many great writers out there, from hundreds of years ago to the present. A great way to give yourself some inspiration is to read. The key here is to read outside of the genre that you plan on writing about, but still read content from people who are within your field. This will help you see different perspectives on the subject and help you spark some unique words in your head.
Be creative: Try to be creative with anything else besides writing. For instance, paint a picture, write a poem, or work on a creative project that allows you to work with your hands. As we said before, writing has a lot to do with being creative, so the creative part of your brain might need a little fine tuning before you can put yourself back into the flow of writing.
Break Down The Wall!
Don’t worry, we know that this is a process, but when you see the end result of your work, you will know that it was all worth it. Plus, you never know when a great idea is going to pop into your head. Remember that everyone has creative juices stirring, but you never know when they are going to hit. If you need some assistance getting your flow going, check out this course on overcoming writer’s block that has helped knock down writer’s block for other students like yourself!