Writer’s block … Yes, it happens to us writers. It’s inevitable. Every writer knows the struggle. Your artistic and creative bone in you is not functioning and sometimes, it feels like you want to throw that towel you have there.
Let’s say, for example; you are one of the employees that write for a particular company that offers article writing services or just someone or a freelancer who makes writing a living. You get stuck in the middle of your write up, and you stare at the screen of your computer and no words are running out of your mind. It can be frustrating or let us correct that, it is indeed frustrating and annoying. You can feel the pressure and the headache are coming for you. This is not mere pressure. This is something worse. This is something we call writer’s block. Before we go ahead and discuss the tips on how to avoid this phenomenon, let’s start talking about writer’s block itself first. What is writer’s block?
Writer’s block is a state, which is basically related to writing, in which a person who intends to write is unable to think of something to write or even proceed to write. Many famous authors have gone through this and even the legendary British singer-songwriter Adele. Now, let’s take a look at its causes and how it affects us.
1. Fear – some writers fear to write, publish and be criticized and most of us are no exception. Fear is also one of the primary reasons why potential writers never intend to become writers. As an effect, potential authors are no longer trying to create a writing masterpiece for fear of critiques.
2. Perfectionism – we as writers are perfectionists, let’s not deny that. We want everything to be just right and perfect when we create a writing masterpiece. The biggest problem is we tend to complete everything in our head first but fail to do so, and as a result, we no longer have the urge to start writing.
But the main question here is, how can we overcome it? How do we fight this phenomenon? Good thing, we’re here, and we’ve got you covered! Here are some of the effective tips that writers are using (we actually tried this, proven and tested) to conquer writer’s block.
1. Leave your write up and take a walk for a while – refresh your mind by taking a walk outside. Seeing new environment (aside from a pen and paper or a keyboard and a monitor screen) revitalizes your environment. An energized mind will always give you fresh ideas and words will come out naturally.
2. Freewrite for a few minutes – freewriting is always a nice way to divert your attention. Try writing your ideas in bullet form in a spare sheet or anything that comes out on top of your head, ignore punctuation errors and just write anything that is in your mind. You may change your subject frequently, and you may mix your emotions while doing this but just let it flow. Vent everything as this may free up your mind and welcome new concepts and ideas.
3. Keep away from distractions – turn off your cell phone and unplug it to the internet. Clean up your desk and remove unnecessary things in your workspace. A messy workspace will give you a confused mind. If you are living with your family at home, ask them to respect your work time and not to disturb you at least 3 to 4 hours a day or write whenever everyone at home is at sleep. By doing this, it will help your mind to be calm and will let you focus more on your writing.
4. Talk to an imaginary friend – writing and thinking about your readers all the time makes writing dull and boring. Forget your readers for the mean time and create an imaginary friend instead. This imaginary friend is your number 0 fan (better than number 1). It loves everything that you write, may it be a diary, an article or a novel. Give it a name and put a little illustration or picture of it on your work desk. Every day, before starting to write your masterpiece, talks to your friend first. Discuss your problems with it. Be its personal adviser and all. This will refresh your mind and give you peace of your mind.
5. Take a trip – visit your family or a friend you haven’t seen in awhile. But, don’t drive. Take a train, a taxi, a bus or even an airplane. Why? Because your goal is to write even a short essay or just a simple post while you are on the trip. One more thing, leave your iPad or personal laptop at home. Instead, write using a pen and paper. And don’t forget to write and write without stopping until you arrive.
6. Be coffee’s best friend – we know that caffeine is not good for the health. What you need to do is go to a coffee shop (if it’s possible, look for a coffee shop with books). While you’re sipping the coffee, get a book, open the table of contents, extract things that would help you think of ideas about your next blog posts. You can also try green tea, by the way.
7. Amaze yourself – try wandering. Embrace distractions. Expand your ideas. Try reading blogs that are not related to your topic. Do not follow people who you’re only in the same circle with. Don’t just read your niche’s top authors’ newly-published article, content, or books. You know, being an employee of a company that offers article writing services can sometimes be boring. You may also try watching a movie by yourself, have a trip to a museum or watch some random channels on the TV. Surprise yourself with new metaphors. The process of being creative is always unanticipated. Work your way to surprise yourself.
8. Explore different places where you can write – don’t just stay at your work desk. Don’t keep your butt burnt with the same chair. If you can go traveling, then do so. If you can’t, then just stay away from your desk. It is proven that staying away with your work desk is an effective way to cure and overcome writer’s block. Visit parks, or sit at a table in a new Starbucks store within your vicinity. Go somewhere that would not remind you of how boring your work is. Take your iPad with you and write in the places where your feet will take you. Experiment on different places to inspire you to write something even more beautiful.
9. Try writing early in the morning – there are times when we’re stuck on a particular topic, and our brains seem to lose its function. We asked a couple of writers, and this is what they do: Write at least two to three sentences before you go to sleep. We all know that our subconscious mind is good in problem-solving, right? The problem is the topic where you’re stuck in. Eventually, your subconscious brain (while sleeping) will do the solving for you. Make an effort to wake up around 4, or 5 am because your mind is very useful at that point.
10. Move your body a bit – it may sound funny, but this is effective. Try dancing, practice Yoga or anything that makes your body move. When you got your body to flow, your mind flows as well. Take long and deep breaths as this may relax your thoughts and a relaxed mind attracts new ideas and makes your mind open. And an open mind becomes creative and imaginative. In addition to that, your attention span or your focus will linger more on your writing when you have a relaxed mind.
11. Don’t wait until you feel “inspired” – this is one of our common mistakes. We don’t write unless we feel that exhilarating feeling. This is a no-no! It doesn’t mean that because we don’t feel like writing, we’ll not going to write at all. Sometimes when we write fragments, this is where amazing ideas come from.
12. Explore your emotions – try writing when you are extremely happy or when you’re sad or angry. This will help you express all the words, ideas, and opinions in your mind. Write it after expressing an extreme emotion. Even if you think you’re already a little bit far from your topic, write it. Because after all, your audience does not need perfection. They need to feel what you feel while you’re writing the piece.
13. Browse your photo album – woke up one day with nothing to write? Try browsing your photo album. Sharing some beautiful fragments of your life to your audience is a good way to build a relationship with them. Take a look at some of your pictures and pick stories from it that you can relate to your topic. Let those photo albums remind you of who you are and how you’ have been through. Always think of who inspired you to start your writing career and how it affected you.
14. Start your article in the middle – it is true that you need to have a fantastic introduction to drawing your audience. But as a downside, thinking of a perfect article introduction may stop your adrenaline rush in writing your thoughts about your topic. Write the body of your subject first. Write every idea that you have while you still have it. Worry about your introduction later.
15. Take a cigarette break – smoke? Not literally, lighting up a cigarette. A smoke break is about 5 to 10 minutes. Take a break and recharge yourself. Go on your balcony, take a quick walk in your garden, listen to the traffic, or just merely watch the clouds as they pass by (like a lonely smoker). Do something relaxing! Do not spend your time, liking, tweeting, and sharing posts on social media because it will not relax your mind and body.
16. Accept being a misfit – No one’s perfect. Being a writer is not about being perfect and completely conforming with the norms. Don’t let pressure sink into you. Don’t be intimidated with your favorite blogger. Accept who you are and learn to live with it. Write in your style. You might be a misfit but always think that an original is worth more than a copy.
17. Don’t pity yourself – writers tend to wallow in self-pity when they can’t write anything that they think is wonderful. You don’t have to. Don’t overthink. Don’t let pity eat you. We all know that article writing sometimes sucks, but it’s just a phase. You’ll get over it. Every master was once a student who never gave up. You can still improve if you just keep on trying.
18. Start writing – yes, this is quite odd to you. Write anything. Just write. It doesn’t have to be eloquent, presentable or even perfect. Just write from your heart. Write for the heart and happiness of writing. Don’t reason out, don’t procrastinate, and don’t justify. Come on! Get that brain working and write a few words. Put in mind that all first draft sucks. These words in your mind just beg to be written.
When you apply one or all of these tips in this article, you will definitely realize that a writer’s block is just a minor issue to solve when you are a writer. Remember the difference between a professional and an amateur writer; one is the one who’s stuck and stops while the other one is the one who pushes through. You have anything that you can share? Share it in the comment box! Happy writing!