We’ve all faced it. The blank screen, the empty page, the mind seemingly void of ideas.
It doesn’t matter what you’re working on or how prolific a writer you may be—writer’s block affects us all from time to time. Here are four solutions to break free from the writer’s block that binds you.
1. Start with the end. In blog posts, book chapters, articles of all kinds—often our biggest trip-up is the very first line. So skip past it and begin with the end—or the middle. Just jump in and start typing your ideas, the points you plan to make, the illustrations you plan to use. Don’t worry right away about organizing all the content into a comprehensive format. For now, the point is to bypass the block and get some ideas on paper. Often the beginning becomes clear as the rest of the piece takes shape.
2. Draw your ideas instead of writing them. Or do something else creative, such as painting, playing an instrument, cooking or crafting. The point is to tap your creative juices without actually writing. Think of it like interval training. Switching from high-intensity exercise (writing) to a different form and pace of exercise (other creative activities) can prevent burnout and actually improve your efficiency in the long-run.
3. Take a break. Sometimes all we need is a fresh perspective—literally. Take a walk, watch a movie, read a book. Sit at a coffee shop or park bench and try to let your thoughts follow an unrestricted stream of consciousness. Constantly producing intentional ideas and formulating them into well-constructed sentences can take a toll on the brain. Give your mind and body a chance to relax and think about something else, and often the ideas will start flowing again.
4. Eliminate distractions. One of the biggest triggers for writer’s block is stress. Take a look at your schedule and workload. Are you too busy? Fatigued? Preoccupied with worry or anxiety? All of those burdens can crowd out our mental space and hinder our ability to create. Consider either changing your schedule to allow more margin, or setting aside your writing project for a time when you can give it the attention it deserves.
Most importantly, let’s prevent writer’s block in the first place by making writing a craft. That involves building writing time into our regular schedules (rather than waiting around for inspiration) so we’re practicing a little bit every day. This teaches the brain how to write just like our brains once learned to swim or ride a bike. We may not always feel like going for a bike ride, but our legs will remember how to do it.
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