How to Overcome Writer's Block
Ugh, writer's block—the annoying menace of wordsmiths everywhere.
If you're someone who loves writing, then you can totally relate to the frustrating sensation of putting your pen to paper (or your fingers to a keyboard), only to completely freeze up. Or worse, to write something that your normal self finds cringeworthy.
Sometimes those creative juices just refuse to flow. Fortunately, writer's block is a common occurrence, so here are a few tips and tricks that might help you out of your creative rut.
Whether you're struggling to finish a school paper or you just want to tap into your imaginative side, keep scrolling for our best tips on how to overcome writer's block.
Go for a Walk
Sometimes the best thing you can do for your writing is take a step away. Continuing to stare at the computer screen and beat yourself up over your lack of inspiration will only make it harder for you to start writing again. Instead, take a short walk around your neighborhood to clear your head. It will get your blood flowing, give your mind a rest from obsessing over your work and give you some perspective on your lack of creative impulse.
Switch Up Your Environment
Weird as it might sound, your environment can be everything when it comes to writing. If you're sitting in a busy place with lots of distractions, try moving somewhere very quiet where you can be alone with your thoughts. On the other hand, if you've been sitting alone for hours with no luck, the endless activity of a coffee shop might be what you need to inspire your creative mind. Sitting in one place for too long can start to feel stagnant and boring, which blocks your ability to feel energized and motivated. Switching your setting might be the perfect solution to freeing your motionless mind.
While, at times, the solution may be to change your setting, other times all you need is focused attention to kickstart your writing. If you've been struggling to pen something substantial, try to eliminate any and all distractions that might be using your mental energy. Turn off you phone for a while, mute notifications on your computer, shut off your music—basically, take away anything except for yourself and what you're working on. That way, you can channel all your energy into your writing, free of any annoying interruptions that would ruin your flow.
Sometimes writer's block occurs because you're trying to do too much too soon. If you have a huge paper in front of you and only a vague idea of the points you want to make, actually writing a coherent sentence seems like a daunting task. The solution, then, is to simply stop trying to write a coherent sentence. Instead of attempting to pen all your thoughts from the get-go, take simple notes on what you're trying to get across. Just throwing fragments onto a sheet of paper can help to organize your ideas, making the task in front of you less daunting and curing your inability to get started.
Start in the Middle
Writer's block can also occur when you get too wrapped up in creating a perfect draft. If you're focusing too much on putting together a flawless piece of work, the overthinking and worry that goes into choosing each word can eventually block your creativity altogether. One solution is to start in the middle of your work, rather than trying to create an error-free story from the beginning. It eliminates the pressure to get everything perfect up-front, as you'll have to go back and work on other sections anyway. You'll still be getting your work done, and you might even find that writing later sections first makes the opening paragraphs of your piece crystal clear.
Try Timed Writing
It can be really difficult to focus on the task in front of you when all you see is an endless expanse of work with no end in sight. Suddenly, scrolling through social media and looking up random articles on the Internet becomes much more appealing than focusing in on your work for an unbeknownst amount of time. Timed writing can help to break down that feeling of overwhelming work.
For example, we really like the Pomodoro Technique, in which you focus on your writing distraction-free for 25 minutes and then reward yourself with a 5 minute break. It keeps you from endlessly procrastinating on your computer, as you can relax in the knowledge that you'll be taking frequent breaks to rest your mind and catch up on what you may have missed. But whatever technique you might choose, the important thing is setting a certain amount of time where you only focus on your writing. With an end in sight, you may have the motivation you need to pen something useful.
While it may sound counterintuitive, sometimes the best way to overcome writer's block is simply by writing. However, you'll need a slightly different structure to get those creative juices flowing. Instead of focusing on the actual task at hand, take 10 or 15 minutes to free write. Write whatever comes to mind, without fear of punctuation, spelling errors, grammar or anything else that might interrupt your flow. It doesn't have to be good. In truth, it doesn't even have to be useful, but it might kickstart those expressive feelings and push you out of your writing rut.
Sometimes changing up your environment also means changing up your tools. If you're on the hunt for more writing inspiration, click HERE to learn more about this stylish keyboard that also feels like a typewriter.