Writer’s block—the dreaded phrase. What do you do when your mind is blank, when you have no words or thoughts to put on the page? This is a paralyzing and incredibly frustrating experience for many writers. But while it may feel impossible, there are many things you can do (and many things you shouldn’t do) to overcome this paralysis. Here are a few of them.
What You Should Do
- Do something active—being physically active will get your heart pumping and your thoughts flowing.
- Change your environment. If you’re working at home, move to a different room, or get out of the house and go to your favorite coffee shop. Reconsider your writing space—are you writing in a space that encourages creativity and productivity? If not, rearrange or relocate.
- Listen to music.
- Brew a pot of coffee.
- Play—do something fun and creative: grab your favorite coloring book or paint a picture.
- Find joy in your writing. Remembering why you started writing in the first place can provide encouragement and renewed motivation.
- Talk to a friend.
- Think of your writing as a job, not a hobby.
- Do a few writing exercises.
- Read some inspiring quotes.
- Read a book.
- Brainstorm ideas using bullet points.
- Work on multiple projects simultaneously. This can maintain variety in your writing and stave off boredom, often preventing the onset of writer’s block.
- Create a writing schedule and stick to it. Designate certain writing hours, or a certain word limit, for each day. Even if you feel writer’s block creeping in, keep writing until you’ve filled your scheduled time or reached your word count.
- Don’t be overly critical. Criticism might be essential to editing, but it is detrimental to writing.
- Take time off. If you’ve just completed a project, don’t rush into the next one. Idleness and relaxation are key to the creative process—give yourself some time to be creative and generate new ideas in a pressure-free environment.
- Set and keep deadlines. This can be a challenge, especially for writers who are working for themselves. Accountability can be a great motivator—share your deadlines with a friend and ask them to hold you accountable to keeping them.
- Examine issues behind writer’s block. Writer’s block is often caused by fear and anxiety, and examining the underlying issues can help you to work through it and prevent it in the future.
What You Should Not Do
- Wallow in self pity
- Refuse to write anything (whatever you do, keep writing)
At the end of the day, there is only one guaranteed solution to end writer’s block: start writing. Write something, write anything. Just put a few words on the page. Write for the joy of writing—write because writing is what you do. Write, and you will defeat this paralysis called writer’s block.
Remember to check back with us for future posts and insights into the digital world.