Beating writers block

It’s something all writers go through at some point.  Sitting in front of the blank screen, the flashing cursor mocking you.  Knowing that you have to write something but having a brain-bank that’s entirely devoid of ideas.  Pen-in-hand but unable to make the words flow.  It’s Writer’s Block, and it’s a bit of a bitch.

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When you’re caught in the grips of Writer’s Block, it can feel as though you’ll never write a decent sentence again.  You might feel as though your creativity has dried up, but I promise you that there are plenty of ways to get around it.

Step away from the computer.

Sometimes, Writer’s Block occurs because we’ve pushed ourselves too far.  If you’ve spent every day for the past week writing, your mind is going to get tired and your inspiration will turn stale.  If that’s the case, the only cure is a break.  Switch off your computer and cap your pen.  Go outside, catch up with your friends, have an adventure.  Do something that gives your brain a rest and allows you to recharge your batteries.  When I take a bit of time away from writing, I always return to it with renewed motivation and a head full of ideas.

Keep a list of ideas

There are days when I’ve sat down to write a blog post, and I just have no idea what to write about.  On these occasions, a list of potential post ideas is a lifesaver.  I have a notebook that I carry with me.  Whenever I think of an idea for a blog post, I jot it down.  Inspiration can strike anywhere, and often if you don’t make a note of an idea when you have it, the idea evaporates.  If you have a list of ideas at the ready, you can consult it when you’re at a loss for what to write about.

Just write

Writer’s Block can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.  You don’t have any ideas, you panic about not being able to write.  That panic clouds your mind and makes it more difficult to get writing.  You begin to second-guess everything you put down on the paper.  You fret that you’re a terrible writer.

You’re not a terrible writer.  That’s just your panic talking.  When this happens, the only way to push past it is to just write.  If you keep over-thinking it, you’re just going to freeze up even more.  Tell yourself that you’re going to write for fifteen minutes, with no interruptions.  Spend that time just writing, without evaluating the quality of your work.  Don’t stop to correct your mistakes, don’t re-read your work.  Just write. Often, this will be enough to get your momentum going and quell that fear and panic.

Try something different

You might be feeling a bit stagnant because you always write about the same thing.  If this is the case, try doing things a little differently.  Try writing in a style that you haven’t tried before.  Experiment with journalling, poetry, short stories or fiction.  Download some writing exercises and give them a shot.

If you’re a blogger, attempt a type of post you haven’t done before.  Film a vlog, or create a post that’s entirely comprised of photographs.  This will spark your creativity and give you a bit of a challenge.

Harness your creativity

 Inspiration and motivation aren’t the sort of things that you can force.  You just have to let them come naturally.  So it stands to reason that when you have a burst of creativity, you should take advantage of it.

If you wake up one morning with a burning desire to write, do it.  Write for as long as that motivation lasts.  There are some afternoons where I have a great idea for a blog post, and I just want to put it together immediately.  Even though I might have other things planned I will do my best to put those things aside to take advantage of that spurt of inspiration.

I realise that you can’t always write when you feel like it.  We all have other commitments that get in the way of our creative work. But if you feel the urge to write, and you can rearrange your day to accommodate your creativity, do it.

Have you ever experienced writer’s block?  How do you get past it?

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4 thoughts on “Beating writers block

  1. I’ve never heard of a “word web” but I sounds like a very effective way to get the brain thinking tangentially. I usually only blog when I have something to yak about, but I also carry a notebook around too, in which nearly every passing thought goes into as I have a memory like a sieve! xo

    • The ‘word web’ is a really awesome exercise. I do this all the time, but I’d always called it “free association”. This is the first time I’d heard the term word’web, but I think it’s a more apt description.

  2. Thanks for these ideas 🙂 esp. the writers notebook.

    I found that doing a ‘word web’ sometimes helps – starting of with a central theme, like ‘blue’ and following on with everything that comes up in your head that relates – like ‘sea’, ‘whale’, ‘song’…free-associating – it can lead to some ideas you can work with. And when faced with a blank page, even writing ‘I can’t think of a thing to write about…my mind is a blank…’ helps break the freeze you get when you’re faced with a blank page.

    Can you advise where to find some good writing exercises to download?

    • I totally agree with you about the ‘word web’ idea. I do that sometimes in my journal when I’m feeling upset or angry but I’m not sure why. Just letting the words flow is a great way to unlock ideas and creativity. Sometimes just writing, writing anything at all, is helpful.

      There are plenty of great websites that have a range of writing exercises to get your creative juices flowing. I like this one.

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