As a writer, one of the challenges you’ll have to face is figuring out how to overcome writer’s block. Believe me, it isn’t easy. Writing this post took me much longer than it should’ve due to the fact that I kept hitting a brick wall with nearly every train of thought.
Writer’s block is a universal challenge that affects nearly every writer. It can strike when you least expect it and put you in a stagnant state of mind that’s both demoralizing and frustrating.
It happens to everyone, so don’t single yourself out if you’re staring at a blank Word document after partaking in a whack-a-mole session with the backspace button.
1. Overcome Writer’s Block Through Self-Awareness
While it might sound trivial at first, listen to your writer’s block. What is it saying to you? “I have no idea how to follow up with this great paragraph.” Well, why do you think you’re stuck? Have you performed an extensive amount of research on the topic? Are you bogged down by grammatical errors that you had to correct? Do you lack confidence? Try to see writer’s block as a cry for help. It’s your job to figure out what’s causing it, and the sooner you root out the problem, the easier it’ll be for you to hit the jets full-speed.
2. Take. A. Break.
It’s pointless to continue staring at the screen with the hopes that a brilliant idea will pop in your head – especially if you’ve been at it for hours. Instead of taking your frustrations out on that poor little keyboard, take some alone time for yourself. Here are some soothing activities you can participate in.
- Take your dog out for a leisurely stroll.
- Clean around the house.
- Watch/stream some shows (be careful not binge).
- Play some games.
- Cook some scrumptious food.
Essentially, you’ll want to give yourself a break from focusing for hours on end. Any activity will pretty much suffice, and you’ll come in with a clear mind afterwards. Additionally, you know you’ll naturally start brainstorming if you’re stuck on a topic so you never know what could pop into your head during your chocolate chip baking session.
3. Free Write
Free writing is an excellent way to convey your thoughts and ideas without having to worry about sentence structure or other grammatical errors. Sometimes, the best way to proceed with writing something is to let everything go and just have at it. Consider it a safe haven for all those ideas that you think don’t make sense or just aren’t good enough to make it on paper. Remember, it might sound pretty awkward in your head, but once you write it down, you could potentially come up with a game-changing topic.
4. Create a Bubble Chart
Personally, this is one of my favorite things to do when I get caught up with writer’s block. Fortunately, I own a decent-sized white board that I conveniently found in the clearance section of Target. With a permanent home next to my computer, I use it when I can’t quite put pen to paper and instead have to break it down in an unconventional fashion.
Start by creating a large bubble that has your primary topic. Next, draw some subtopic bubbles – or smaller bubbles – around your primary bubble and start filling in the blanks. Where do you want to take your essay/article/blog post? What type of direction are you planning on taking? Are there specific keywords that you want to focus on? Personalize it to your heart’s content and draw lines that connect the bubbles to one another. Sometimes, it’s better to take a visual approach to your writing – which is my personal preference when I have to overcome writer’s block.
Here’s a great example of a bubble chart by the folks over at Meisterlabs.
Whether you’re using these tips or others that you’ve learned throughout your writing career, one thing’s for certain: it isn’t easy to overcome writer’s block. However, managing it and using it to your advantage can put you in a better position to effectively write pieces that are chalked full of quality content – which is pivotal if you’re trying to make it in the writing industry. Don’t cave in to this setback as it’s just a temporary hump that you’ll eventually get over. Stay positive, stay proactive, and trust in your writing ability.