Writer’s block can be crippling. Like a black cloud, it descends and covers the whole mind, seemingly leaving no escape. I’ve been asked a couple of times how I beat writer’s block so I thought I’d share my tips.
- Don’t let it fester. Don’t let the days drag into weeks and the weeks drag into months. Keep busy, even if it’s not with writing related projects. Don’t sit there and stare at a blank screen because it’s one of the worst feelings in the world. If you don’t break the block early, it can linger for months or even years. And the worst feeling in the world is the one where you’re not able to create.
- Do a little writing every day. It doesn’t have to be on your current project. If there’s one you’ve been itching to start, make a start on it. Scribble notes in a notebook or write a letter. Send a card or postcard to someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time (letters and cards are soooo much nicer in this day and age of electronic communications!). Send a thank you note to someone you admire. As long as you’re putting words down, you’re keeping that part of your brain active.
- Try and have a writing goal for every day. It could be 100 words or 1000 words. It may be that you want to write for an hour, but have a goal. Once you make your goal, stick to it. Turn off your phone and internet. Tell people what you’re doing and that you don’t want to be disturbed until you’re done. If you’re working in a noisy or active environment, help focus your mind by wearing headphones and listening to music or white noise tracks.
- Go for a walk, bike ride, or a run. Take an MP3 player and some headphones. Or if the fancy takes you, go to as night club, dance class, or gym. All exercise is great for kick starting the brain.
- Try something other than writing to try and get the creative juices flowing. I can’t draw but it doesn’t stop me from having a drawer full of pens, pencils, and Sharpies. When I’m having a bit of a bad writing day, I sit and doodle. Other people I know make jewellery, create clay models, or take photographs.
- Create a style book of images and ideas relating to your story. Images can include examples of clothing, buildings, and anything else that takes your fancy. Jot down ideas and scenes in between the images. When writer’s block strikes, flick through to help refresh your memory.
- Take a break, even if it’s only for a couple of days at a friend’s house or a couple of hours at a gallery. Those hours away can help immensely to help the creative juices flow.
- Laugh! Laughter’s great at helping to beat writer’s block so log onto your favourite funny websites, watch a film, or go and see one of your favourite comedians.
- Reward yourself! If you hit a daily or weekly writing goal, give yourself a reward. It might be a night out, a concert ticket, or a take away. Enjoy yourself!
Writing’s supposed to be fun and enjoyable. But, like any job, it has its down sides. The second you feel the cloud descend, step back and take a good look. And don’t be afraid to ask for help. You might find that sharing the experience with someone helps get you back on track.
Until later, happy writing!