First things first, how do you identify that you’re suffering from writer’s block? It’s when you take about 4 hours to write these 2 sentences! *sigh*. But jokes aside, you’re most likely facing writer’s block when you’re struggling with words, feeling uninspired and highly critical of your work. When you’re into a profession that requires you to churn out words and sentences every day, facing a block like this can be frustrating but also, inevitable. It happens to everyone at some point in time. It’s happening to me right now but my job demands I write something despite the crisis, so here I am!
The worst part? You’ll face it just when you could really, really do without it. But alas, what would life be without its twisted little games, no? However, you needn’t be hard on yourself when you feel like you’ve hit a wall. Writing is a form of art and it’s only normal to not be able to be creative at all times. But let’s look at a few common causes of writer’s block: mental burnout, external pressure, distractions, fear of writing, perfectionism etc. And now, let’s look at a few tips to break out of it. Shall we?
10 things that’ll help you overcome writer’s block:
1. Write, regardless
Yes, even when you’re having the toughest time of your life writing, don’t give it up. You may want to tear the pages of your book or flip your laptop or pull your hair out, but my suggestion—don’t do it. Not good to waste paper nor the best decision to break your laptop, duh! Or lose your hair (dude?)! Instead, try your best to keep calm and trust the process. Your pace will be slower but you will indefinitely achieve a breakthrough simply by being consistent. Of course, take occasional breaks but don’t stop writing altogether. The block will only get worse, instead!
2. Change of environment
There’s no doubt about the fact that certain spots either at home or at your workplace can become increasingly comfortable. But it’s very much a possibility that these same spots can be the cause of stagnant brain activity. Inspiration can stem from just about anywhere but when you’re in the same place for too long, it’s hard for your creative juices to flow. It’s then natural to feel creatively blocked that further leads to writer’s block, which most of us in the profession can’t afford! So even if it’s as simple as going from your room to your living room, maybe a nearby, work-friendly cafe or a new city altogether if you’re just that extra, do it! You’ll see the block unfold.
Reading is essential when you’re a writer. It’s how you improve your writing, increase your vocabulary and of course, gain knowledge. And it’s also one effective way to bounce off new ideas, get inspired and open your mind to new perspectives on a particular subject. However, mindless reading where you’re just going through strings of words isn’t going to help. You must read as though you want to find an answer to something. This way you’ll grasp new information with ease and possibly spark an idea or two from there! To know more about how reading can help overcome writer’s block, do refer to this interesting piece on Medium.
4. Sleep on it
In today’s day, lifestyles are hectic and fast-paced and suffering from mental burnout is inevitable when you’re in the creative industry. A goodnight’s sleep or a good nap when you can’t find the solution to a problem, feel blocked, can’t think clearly, can give your mind a break and get rid of unnecessary and space-consuming thoughts. More often than not, short-term writer’s blocks are just our brain’s way of telling us to take a break. And rightly so! So don’t feel shy to cut yourself some slack and not overstress it.
5. Indulge in your favourite things
Sometimes you just need to let loose, reward yourself and take care of your wellbeing. Enjoy the things you truly love, slow down the pace and reflect back. So gobble on your favourite chocolate, enjoy that cheesy pizza, rewatch your favourite movie or indulge in your favourite hobbies. The endorphin rush is sometimes all you need to get back in the groove of things! After all, who doesn’t like being rewarded for their hard work?
The benefits of exercise are well-known. The feel-good emotion that a good workout releases, the power of it is unmatched. Working out not only pushes your body but also your mind to achieve great things. The adrenaline rush can be of great help to churn out interesting ideas, speaking from personal experience. And it also helps to overcome mental burnout. A long walk, heart-racing run or a HIIT workout should do the trick in helping you get over your block.
7. Try doing mundane tasks
Boredom isn’t all that bad, just by the way! Sometimes your mind just needs to switch off from any and all tasks that involve being creative. Instead, spend time doing tasks like dishes, cleaning, decluttering a space etc. Boredom will inevitably make you want to do more interesting things, cause that’s what boredom does. And before you know it, words will start flowing, you’ll have charted your first draft and your editor will come back with minimal to zero errors! The second part isn’t guaranteed but hey, it’s a possibility! Believe in yourself and try being bored from time to time for the sake of your sanity!
8. Have a routine in place
And by routine, we mean, keep a fixed time in the day dedicated to writing. This might seem hard at first but nobody perfects a particular art without practice. So be obedient about creating a routine for your writing time. It helps me keep my job so I’m sure it’s an effective tip! This tip, in fact, is quite similar to the first tip where you’re simply being consistent and not giving up. When your brain has learned that at this hour we have to churn out words, it won’t fail you.
9. Jam to your favourite album, artist or playlist
When has dancing or singing not proven to be an effective way of tackling a problem? For a bunch of problems, probably but you can definitely try it out when your creative side seems to have taken an unsolicited pause. After all, don’t creative problems require creative solutions? Prove me wrong!
10. Talk to people
Have you tried this before? If you have, then I’m sure you know how effective it is. But if you haven’t, you must, right away! Discuss with people exactly what you’re struggling with and note down their perspective and opinions. New conversations, new POVs, brainstorming with people, it’s a surefire way of overcoming writer’s block. You never know what might pique your interest and where your mind might wander and how in the midst of it, you would have thought of never-before-thought ideas to complete whatever it is you’re writing.
What not to do when you’re experiencing writer’s block:
1. Not try to write
There’s no much explaining to do here but just a piece of simple advice. Don’t give up. Don’t stop. Take a break but try to write.
We hope these tips come in handy when you’re struggling with a block! What are some things that you follow to break out of it? Tell us in the comments below.
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