First of all, let me start with a confession: when I sat down to write this, I began to experience a little writer’s block myself.
Why? It could have been the fact it was 4pm on a Friday. Or the fact that I was inundated with information about the subject online. Or maybe I just had writer’s block on the brain. Who knows? The main point is, it happens to all of us at one time or another.
But here’s the problem: some of us have jobs which rely on our ability to write. We can’t just wait until our writing block passes. We could be waiting days, weeks or even months, and our employers might not be that patient.
This is why it is wise, or even crucial, to have a ‘Plan B’ – some ideas you can turn to, to get the words flowing again in times of need.
So, how do you conquer the dreaded writer’s block? I’m glad you asked.
1. Get inspired
Sometimes you just need to step out, get some air and regroup. Take a walk. There is something about exercise that gets those creative juices flowing. Or, put yourself in a new environment: a café, a park, a library. Look around you. What do you see? This will help to clear your mind and give you new ideas.
2. Write first thing in the morning or last thing at night
When you first wake up you are at your creative peak, as your brain is still in that fuzzy space where dreams come from. Take advantage and write. You will be amazed at what your brain conjures up when it is fresh and unsuspecting.
Alternatively, write last thing at night before you go to sleep. That way your subconscious will mull it over while you sleep, so when you wake up, you have an abundance of ideas to run with.
3. Feel the fear and do it anyway
Often our mental block can be a reaction to pressure. Stop. Stop worrying about deadlines, audiences, expectations, and even grammar – I can’t believe I said that, but what I mean is that it can be edited later. Just write.
The worst thing that can happen is that you have to erase it later but, even if that happens, you are no worse off than if you had sat and stared at a blank page all day.
4. Write in a different order
Remember, there is no one forcing you to write in the order it will be read. You can write in whatever order you like, as long as they end up in sequential order in the end.
So, if you are feeling stilted on one section, skip it and come back to it. Plus, once you know where you are going, the rest will probably start to come together a whole lot easier anyway.
5. Drink coffee
If all else fails, get yourself a strong, strong latte. If that doesn’t get the brain waves going, I don’t know what will. Hello creativity!
6. Know when to give up on an idea
Uh oh, this one just had to be said; if you have tried everything and still aren’t getting anywhere, it may not be the writing, but the idea itself. The answer here is plain and simple: scrap the idea and move on. We have grown up learning the importance of persistence, but sometimes, to be a winner, you have to know when to quit.
If this happens, don’t sweat it. We all have not-so-great ideas. The brilliance is being able to recognise them as soon as possible, before you exert too much time and energy on them.
So if you didn’t know how to outsmart writer’s block before, you do now. Play around and see which of these work for you!
Now, what are you waiting for? Happy writing, you creative genius, you.
Do you have any other tips for getting past writer’s block? Let us know in the comments below.