Ah, writer’s block. An uncontrollable condition that can sneak up on any unsuspecting individual at the most inconvenient of times.
The day before a 3,000-word essay is due.
A week before a major final report and presentation will be delivered to a client.
A mere few hours before your article is scheduled to be published on a client’s website.
It has a funny way of making an unwelcome entrance at the worst possible time and makes a victim of any one of us. Including the most proficient of writers. That’s right, you’re not the only one.
Sure, writer’s block can be caused by any number of factors – lack of inspiration, reaching your creativity quotient, the worries of life or even the distraction of anticipation. Much of this is beyond our control.
But what if I told you that you could reduce the hindering effects of writer’s block in a few easy steps?
I’m not promising you’ll never fall victim to writer’s block again. I’m simply giving you strategies to help you progress your writing, even in the face of writer’s block.
It’s likely you’ve heard this one before – reading helps you become a better writer. Whether or note you’re a writer by trade, reading has many benefits for any writing piece. How?
- It exposes you to different writing styles and genres – helping you find your own style
- It gives you a better grasp of the English language, grammar and spelling – time to polish those writing skills!
- It helps you expand your vocabulary – you can use the new words you learn next time you write
And the benefit most relevant to writer’s block – reading inspires new ideas. Not just for what to write but how to write it.
So, pick up a fiction or non-fiction book (you choose) and get reading!
#2 Change your scenery
Sometimes, all you need is a change of scenery. When you’ve been sitting at the same desk in the same office for hours each day, every day of the week, it gets old.
No wonder you’re stuck for new ideas. Monotony is no friend of creativity.
A simple change of scenery can boost your mood, productivity, and creativity. It’s a trifecta in alleviating writer’s block!
Instead of spending another day in the office, take your laptop to a local café and try getting some work done there (as long as it’s not confidential). The new environment will stimulate your senses and help get the words flowing again.
#3 Go outside
Disconnect and immerse yourself in nature for a bit. This will help clear your mind and unleash the creative side of your brain.
Science shows that spending time connecting with nature makes us more creative.
Not convinced? Try it for yourself. Go for a bike ride or a hike, listen to the birds sing, watch the waves crash and soak in the sun’s rays. You’ll come back with a flood of ideas to get you going again. Or at least, that one idea you need to get the job done.
Remember to take your notebook with you or something to capture your ideas when they drop!
#4 Do another creative activity
When you’re stuck in one creative activity (as writing is known to be), try another. Barriers to inspiration in a creative discipline can be solved be engaging in other forms of creativity.
Have a go at painting, playing an instrument, photography, or design. Just pick one you find enjoyable, not stressful. Don’t try so hard, otherwise you’ll have the opposite effect!
#5 Rest / Pause for a break
Sometimes, all you need to do to shake off writer’s block is to stop staring at the blinking cursor on a blank page, get up and take a break.
Take a nap, do some yoga, or listen to a podcast. Do whatever you can to get your mind off what you need to write for a bit. Chances are, the inspiration will then come rolling in.
When inspiration does strike, seize the opportunity and get those ideas written down, pronto!
How do you overcome writer’s block when it feels like there’s no way forward? Share with me by leaving a comment below.
Oyelola is a freelance writer based in Sydney, Australia. She works closely with entrepreneurs and businesses in financial services, consulting and education, writing quality-rich content to engage their readers and motivate action. When not writing for clients, Oyelola provides insights on writing, wealth and work on her Phrased with Purpose blog and shares her faith journey on her personal blog, He Speaks, I Write.