Guest post by Nicholas Rubright: Writer’s block is a common ailment among writers and creative professionals. It can be crippling for any individual who needs to put thoughts on paper. You stare at the screen, and everything that you’ve ever wanted to say is just not there. The words, your ideas, they’re all gone.
It’s frustrating, and it can be scary when it happens for the first time or in the middle of an important project.
Writer’s block can stop productivity cold and leave you feeling stuck with nowhere to go but down. You may feel paralyzed or stifled, during which time you’re unable to do any work at all. The good news is that there are ways to overcome writer’s block so that you can get back on your feet and keep doing what you love!
Take Breaks From Writing if You’re Experiencing Difficulty With It
Take some time for yourself. Whether this means taking a walk around town or just sitting back with your favorite cup of coffee, try not to judge any thoughts that come up while you’re doing these things; they could lead you to something great. Try getting out of your day-to-day routine and explore new surroundings. You might find that the change in scenery inspires you.
Take time to evaluate your progress every day, this will help keep you motivated when things get tough. Commit yourself to finishing whatever project or task is on your plate before moving on to another one. You may be overloaded with projects and not sure where to start, and the stress could be contributing to writer’s block. One of the best ways to overcome writer’s block is to finish what you’re working on and then tackle another project.
Maybe you have been using your writing work to bury negative feelings and distract you from life’s difficulties. That isn’t good for anyone’s mental health, so consider giving yourself time to heal and come to terms with any underlying problems you might be facing.
Find a Quiet Place to Write
Find a place where you won’t be distracted by other people or the sights and sounds of your surroundings. This will help to keep your focus on writing. If possible, choose an environment that makes you feel at ease so that it’s easier for ideas to flow as freely as they’re able — this could be anywhere from a park, the library, or your own home.
Some people have found it helpful to write with pen and paper so they don’t become distracted by the internet or social media like Twitter and Facebook — this is especially true if your work involves an online platform such as blogs, websites, or other social media channels!
Others may prefer writing on their laptops because of how easy it is to access these resources. If you’re struggling with writer’s block, test out both the laptop and pen-and-paper options to determine which one works best for you, and if either helps you overcome writer’s block.
Listen to Music While You Write
While a quiet setting can help you focus, some background noise can actually boost creativity. Having background music can also be a good way to keep you focused on your work. Sometimes, people can feel distracted by the music they put on or by other things while trying to write; this is where background noise comes in handy! If you’re struggling with writer’s block and need help getting started, try listening to some soft instrumental sounds like classical piano or jazz guitar.
Music isn’t just for when we want something upbeat; it can also provide an ideal environment for writing that’s peaceful but lively at the same time. Try out different genres of music until you find one that suits your current mood or sets the tone for the story or article you’re working on. If there are lyrics involved, make sure they aren’t distracting because words could cause more anxiety than inspiration.
Write About What You Know
If you write about what you know and are passionate about, you’ll have more to say and it will be easier. You may not know the perfect words or exactly what angle to write from, but if your topic is something that’s close to your heart, then there is plenty of inspiration all around!
If you’re struggling with writer’s block because your project seems hard or difficult, or if you’re doubting that people will want to read what you’re writing, don’t let this stop you from writing on topics that matter deeply to you.
Sometimes when we’re feeling stuck in a rut and can’t find any way out, one good idea can provide the momentum needed so that we start thinking clearer and working harder again. Going back through old ideas and projects that you worked on in the past is a good place to start, because it will remind you of what kind of writing you enjoy and which topics make sense for your voice.
Keep a journal or diary of your thoughts and ideas, which can be used as inspiration later on in the process. Use your journal to brainstorm about ideas related to your project even when it feels like there is nothing coming through. If you keep at it, you might find the answer to the problem that has been keeping you up at night!
Find a Writing Routine That Works for You
It might be easier said than done, but if you really want to get back on track and stop writer’s block from taking over your life, then set aside time each day for writing.
The longer you wait to set a routine, the harder it will get to stick to one. As when facing any challenge, you can make things easier for yourself by developing good habits from the beginning!
You will need to first establish a routine to get yourself into the mindset that you need for writing, or keep your momentum going when you’re in the mode of working on something new.
Use the Pomodoro technique (25-minute work sessions separated by short breaks) or any other system that works best for you in order to stay productive every day of the week. If there are days when it feels impossible to find a way out of a debilitating cycle, don’t panic! Writer’s block does not have power over what you do next.
Parkinson’s law is an old adage that describes how work expands to fill available space, expanding until new obligations and interests push it back. For example, if you give yourself two weeks to complete a five-hour task, then the task will seem to increase in complexity to fill the two week allocation.
While you might not work much more than five hours on the task, you will spend time thinking about it and stressing over it. You can use Parkinson’s law to get more done by scheduling tasks by how much time they will actually take. Fill up your schedule with other errands or chores to keep your writing projects in their place!
Reading More Will Spark Your Creativity and Improve Your Vocabulary
Sometimes writer’s block occurs because there are pieces of information missing from what you need to write about. This may sound obvious, but sometimes we don’t know what questions to ask ourselves while making our own content. Any internet search engine is a smart place to start looking for information if you feel stuck! Try various ones, as the search results vary between Google, Bing, Yahoo!, or Baidu.
Read more books and blogs related to your topic area so that you have new material to draw from. If you’re a blogger, find a really simple syndication (RSS) feed that will provide you with new posts. As when doing any background research, be careful about accidental plagiarism and consider using a plagiarism checker to make sure you are writing in your own words. It’s possible to simply zone out for a moment, and before we notice we’ve written exactly what we’ve been reading.
It’s also possible for two writers to come up with the same sentence or phrase independently, even if neither has read the other’s writing, which makes it extra important to run anything you write through a plagiarism checker.
Read something that inspires you and gets your creative juices flowing again. Sometimes motivational texts can help you get back on your feet and keep working after a bout of writer’s block. For example, reading quotes from influential people can give you the energy to overcome any obstacle!
Get Feedback on Your Work
Start a dialogue with someone; they can be another writer or a friend. You can discuss their feedback on your work in person or over Zoom or conference calling, or they can leave notes for you in the document or on a piece of paper. Often, live workshops are best, as sometimes it’s easier to get an idea across if there are no filters between yourself and the other person.
You can search the writers community and find an accountability buddy or mentor who might help push you forward when motivation levels get low. You can motivate yourself by motivating others. You can also talk to other people who are knowledgeable about writing and join writer groups. Listening to experienced writers can teach you useful tips on becoming a successful writer.
Write About What You’re Feeling
Even if it’s not related to the topic at hand, getting your feelings down on paper (or on the screen) can help you get over the hurdle of being stuck and kickstart your creativity. Write about your day, what you’re feeling, or anything that’s happening in the moment. You may be surprised at some connections you make between something that seems unrelated and your project!
Nicholas Rubright is a Communications Specialist at Writer – a company that uses AI to help make your text clear, error-free, and easy to understand. In his free time, Nicholas enjoys writing, playing guitar, writing music, and building cool things on the internet.