How to Cure Writer's Blockby Oudraa S
If you’ve ever experienced writer’s block, you know how frustrating and discouraging it can be. For those who haven’t, writer’s block occurs when your creative juices slow all the way down and you’re not able to produce any words for your story, blog, or any other writing piece you're working on. This block can last for days, weeks, months, or even years! It's difficult to say for sure because everyone is different and will subsequently deal with/overcome their writer’s block in their own way. With that being said, are you currently dealing with writer’s block and looking for a way out? We’re going to give you 24 of the best tips to overcome writer’s block and get those words on paper!
Common Causes of Writer's Block
First, let’s look at the commonly associated causes of writer’s block:
- You have too many ideas
- Too many competing responsibilities
- Dealing with other mental/emotional stressors
- You’re fixated on perfection – stuck in the cycle of revision
- Negative self-talk
- Not enough ideas
- Putting too much pressure on yourself
- Comparing your work to others
- You're too distracted (i.e. social media, family, friends, relationships)
- Physical illness
- Financial stress
Although this list is not exhaustive, writer's block can commonly stem from one or more of the reasons listed above. Below we'll list some of the top tips to combat writer's block and get those words written!
Tips to Cure Writer's Block
1. Eliminate Distractions
Sometimes your block is not because you don't have anything to write, but rather you're too distracted! You're listening to music, and surfing the web, and responding to text messages on your phone, and checking instagram, and watching a video on TikTok, and thinking about dinner. No wonder it's so hard to focus and get your words out! Take a deep breath and try turning off your phone for a designated amount of time. Make sure the tasks you're postponing can be put off until later and give your story or blog your undivided attention. You'll be amazed at how much you end up producing, even in a short amount of time!
Getting fresh air and moving your body is a great way to recharge and give your mind a break. Your body will release endorphins as you workout, and you'll end up feeling better than when you started. Doing a quick workout may also help get your creative juices flowing again because you're feeling better and can think more clearly. Don't underestimate the power of a good workout, whether it's a big one or small one.
3. Read a Book
Seems counter-intuitive right? I promise it makes sense! Often times, we're so focused on getting words down that we burn out in the process. We start to lose the passion that ignited our will to produce in the first place. However, reading a book might be the perfect remedy. By reading, you get to experience the words of another author. You get to read a different writing style and immerse yourself in someone else's words, someone else's narrative. This temporary escape could help reignite your love for writing and also give you some of your own ideas regarding how you want your story to flow.
Perhaps your mind has been constantly on the go and you're not able to slow it down long enough to write. Try meditating for 5-10 minutes to calm your your mind and body. Meditating will help put you at ease and make space for new thoughts and perspectives once you are done your session. If you're not sure how to start your meditations, try a guided meditation from Youtube.
5. Spend Time With Someone You Love
Sometimes all you need is to be in the company of someone you love. It's amazing what a cherished person's presence can do for you. A loved one can help take your mind off of your block, and perhaps encourage you in other ways. Spending time with them can also help calm your nerves which in turn, will hopefully put you in a state of relaxation when you are ready to write again. A loved one may also inspire a character or plot in your writing - the possibilities are endless!
6. Watch a Show or Movie
Watching a show or movie can do a number of things to your mood and your mind: cheer you up, spark your creativity, give you an idea, or simply take your mind off of your block. Choose one of your faves to watch or pick a new one - even better!
Taking it back to basics can help your writer's block immensely. If you have an idea (no matter how vague), write down a word associated with that idea. Then, begin to jot down every word, phrase, or feeling that comes to mind when you think of that specific idea. Before you know it, you'll have potential starting points to begin writing with. You can also try this technique when you're developing your characters.
8. Listen to Music
The beautiful thing about music is that there's so many songs for every kind of mood. Music is good for the soul...it can touch you in ways like no other. Turn on a playlist from Youtube or Spotify and just escape. Listening to songs can be incredibly relaxing and also therapeutic. Certain lyrics and tempos may resonate you and even inspire you afterwards.
To Free-write means to do just that, write freely! If you're finding yourself blocked mentally and fixated on trying to write for your story or blog, take a break. Start writing about something else! Whether that's your favourite poem, character, bedtime story as a child or tv show plot...just write! Although it's not for your story, you're still using your writing skills and creativity to jot words down and get those wheels turning. Your free-write could turn into the motivation you need to get back to your own story/blog and get going!
10. Take a Nap
Who doesn't love a good nap? If you're stressed and completely blocked mentally, it may help to take a nap. Sleeping could help calm you down and give your body a break from that spike in cortisol. Sometimes taking a nap can even give you clarity and energy to get back to writing.
11. Address Your Fears
No one likes failing; It can be incredibly discouraging and demotivating to not reach a goal how you intended to. It's okay to be honest with yourself and address your fears surrounding your book or writing in general. They are valid! As you move through your fears, write a positive alternate to them. For example, if you're thinking "this book isn't going to sell", write down the outcome of that scenario. You wouldn't make income from the book, maybe receive some negative reviews, or not make the NY Times Best Sellers List. But also consider the good that could come out of overcoming your fears and continuing to write; You could sell millions, receive a ton of positive reviews and be number 1 on multiple best sellers lists! Sometimes the lesson lies in the failure. You want a great story and for your audience to love it, but that is never guaranteed. Don't psych yourself out or accept a bad outcome before it has even happened! You truly never know what will happen. Write from your heart and put your best effort forward. No matter what happens, you'll know that you tried and delivered a body of work that you can be proud of. So next time your mind asks, "what if they hate it?" Simply answer: "What if they don't."
12. Try Using a Writing Prompt
A writing prompt is made up of a topic or a few sentences that are intended to assist you in writing out ideas and stories. A prompt can help take the pressure off of trying to come up with a new concept or character, and instead allow you to try a random layout instead. For writing prompts, you can try these sites:
13. Switch your writing tool
It almost sounds too simple, but therein lies the beauty; If you've been typing your words on a computer before experiencing writer's block, try writing out a few sentences & ideas with a pen and paper. The switch in tools can spark something in you just by virtue of the change of writing method. You can also try voice recording! Sometimes by talking it out, you're able to think of the progression of your story more easily.
14. Focus on Only one of Your Characters
If you find yourself struggling to develop multiple characters, just pick one! Choose a specific character you want to work on and then devote your time to just that character. Sometimes it's hard to map out stories and personalities for multiple people in your story. As you move through your characters one by one, you'll be able to solidify the part(s) they play in the story and gain momentum for the others.
15. Try a Different Genre
Trying a different genre keeps you in the same creative energy of writing but allows you to explore a different realm. Perhaps you're stuck on chapter four of your romance novel; Start writing about the same characters within a mystery story and see how your characters develop differently. Writing in a different genre may also re-spark your interest in the genre you originally chose for your story.
16. Cancel out Negative Self-Talk
Pay attention to your inner critic! Sometimes our conscious thoughts become so common that we don't even notice when they seep into our subconscious thoughts. It's important to address negative or discouraging thoughts you may be having about yourself or your novel because they can really dictate your ability to persevere and keep writing. Don't believe the critics - even if it's coming from your own thoughts. We are usually toughest on ourselves and it shouldn't be that way. Always give yourself grace when you're trying your best. Believe in yourself and believe in your story. Whenever you have a discouraging thought, try writing it out on a sticky note or small piece of paper. Then tell yourself a countering thought that's supportive and encouraging. Lastly, rip the paper with the negative thought on it and visualize it leaving your body. Only focus on the positive countering thought. You can do this!
17. Make a Writing Schedule/Writing Routine
Adding structure to your daily routine can help immensely. If you want to write for an hour each day - add it to your schedule! Take it as seriously as you would other tasks. Having a writing routine allows you to set aside a specific point in your day to accomplish and may also indirectly force you to be productive. If your day seems mundane, a schedule may add some spice to it.
18. Change your scenery
Try changing the scenery where you normally write. A new environment might inspire you to write differently and get the words flowing. If you're experiencing writer's block, your surroundings may also start to look stagnant and blocked. Change your scenery and see what it does for you!
Dictating a part of your story instead of writing it out can alleviate the pressure of writing and let you put more ideas together. Sometimes all you need to do is talk it out and let the words flow. Most phones come with a voice record option so that you can easily record and listen to it back. Replaying your recordings can also help you sort out your thoughts quicker.
20. Shut out the Internet
The Internet is one of the biggest distractions we have. There are so many ways to waste time browsing and this can easily impact your ability to write. Shutting out distractions on the net will help you focus and devote your undivided attention to writing. There are many sites that will block out the Internet for a certain amount of time, not allowing you to access anything. You can even find sites that make your entire screen a writing box, not allowing you to click out of it until you've reached a certain amount of words or time. Check out some of the sites below:
21. Try using a plot generator
Plot generators are very helpful when you're stuck trying to decide on the development of your story. Even if you don't use the generated plot verbatim, it may still give you an idea of where you want your writing to go. Try a plot generator and see what ideas may sprout from it! Visit these links below to try a plot generator:
22. Work Backwards
Write the end of your story/blog post first and then work your way backwards. It can be challenging to write in order of the beginning, middle, and end. If you get stuck trying to piece together your words but know how you want your story to end, write it! Mapping out the end will help you establish how you want the story to flow and give you a sense of where the rest of the story pieces should fall. As long as you're writing, it's progress!
23. Take a Break
Writer's block can be mentally and emotionally taxing. If you have tried multiple tips and you're still not yielding any results, take a break! Taking a break might be the perfect solution to overcoming your writer's block. Whether you take a day, a week, or a month off - give yourself time to recoup and then return to the task at hand. Everyone needs a break once in a while.
24. And Lastly, Remember: Tomorrow is a New Day
Do the best you can today and remember that tomorrow is truly a new day. You never know what tomorrow holds. You may still be blocked today but it may fade tomorrow. Take a deep breath and relax. Take it one word at a time, one day at a time.
Overcoming writer's block can be challenging and exhausting - we know! But hopefully these tips help get you out of that rut and back to the words. Give yourself grace and know that the words will come. What are some of your favourite go-to's when trying to beat writer's block? Leave a comment down below!
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