You know it when you feel it. That time when no idea that comes into your head seems good enough to put on paper. You can’t make thoughts flow freely from your brain and you’d rather be doing anything else but writing. That’s when it’s official. You have writer’s block. If you find yourself in this situation, here are some tips that might help you out of your rut.
Even if you’ve just sat down to start working, your brain might not be in the right mood to create. Forcing yourself to write might work but more than likely, you’re going to produce something sub-par. So stop and go do something else. Mentally remove yourself from your work. Accept that you aren’t going to write anything and that you’ll come back to it later. You’ll be surprised at how this opens things up later on. You don’t have to take a break for days. Sometimes just a few hours of focusing on something else will do the trick.
Spend Time with Friends or Family
Go and do something fun with a friend or a family member (or anyone you enjoy). This is a sure way to take your mind off your work (or lack thereof) and get a fresh perspective on life. Having some kind of experience with another person is the most powerful. Go bowling, take a canoe trip or a walk together. It sounds cheesy but interacting with people you appreciate, respect or enjoy can put your mind at ease and pave the way for fresh ideas to come out.
Writer’s block is a mixture of self-doubt, distraction, frustration and skepticism. Writers will start to form a thought, think it’s not worthy and try something else only to have the same opinion of the next idea they come up with.
Instead of dismissing everything, write it down anyway knowing that later on you can throw it out if need be. Even if your thought process doesn’t make sense and you end up with a bunch of gibberish, that’s fine. No one will be reading it immediately after you write it so it’s fine if you write garbage.
Read a Book
Writers can often get inspiration from reading the work of others. Go back to a book you’ve been reading or start a new one. Read for a few hours and you’ll find that ideas and thoughts will flow more freely. This trick doesn’t really work if you don’t throw yourself into doing it. Forget about what you need to get done and enjoy someone else’s work.
Change the Setting
This works especially well if you’re always writing in the same spot such as a home office or favorite library room. Sometimes when we are in a place where we typically do work we feel pressured to get something done and that makes it hard to focus.
Try doing your writing in a different spot that you’ve never been in before. Even if you just do it in a different room of your house. Changing the environment can cause new ideas to pop into your head and change your state of mind.
Do Something Fun
This one isn’t for everyone but if you have a hobby that involves playing or there is something from your childhood you’re still fond of, do that. For example build a model car, play with Legos, draw or color a picture, play basketball or some other sport.
Enjoying yourself with a simple activity reduces stress and enables you to have small successes. This can boost your confidence and allow you to think more clearly.
What are some fun and creative ideas you have for overcoming writer’s block?