I know why you are here.
Your fingers stopped moving and you were staring at the blank screen. You could feel a headache coming on.
You knew you should be writing. And you tried. You tried to write, somehow managing to put together a line or two, but you went blank yet again. You just couldn’t do it anymore. Words stopped coming to you and you seem to have lost your muse.
That’s nothing but the worst nightmare of a writer: Writer’s Block
Every writer has had that phase of terror. Yes, even the top-notch writers whom you idolize have been a victim of this.
So, how can you combat this evil block and make the wheels churn again? We bring to you some really simple ways you can try and be prepared to win against your enemy.
11 Ways to Combat a Writer’s Block
1) Get a dose of motivation
You feel like you have lost your muse and you just want to give up? Don’t just yet! There’s always a solution.
You just need a quick dose of extrinsic motivation. Try reading quotes and stories that are inspiring, or maybe articles about productivity, whatever floats your boat. What I find best when I need a little push is TED Talks! They are compact, full of positivity and hey, a free source of knowledge and inspiration, wouldn’t you agree?
You should totally watch this one, of Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love. In the TED talk, she unfolds the story of her failure and success, how she almost gave up writing after her international bestseller (can you believe that?) and how she overcame that block in her own ways.
There are so many such talks which will give you a nudge when words stop coming to you. Here’s a list of some amazing, quirky TED talks which I find really motivating.
2) Figure out your prime time
Maintaining a routine is good. But what if it starts feeling monotonous and leads to procrastination and lack of inspiration?
Bring a change in your schedule and try to find your own “golden hours”.
While some people out there might find it best to work during conventional hours, others get into a good writing groove at off times, like in the middle of the night. Observe and figure out what hours of the day you find yourself at the peak of creativity, and what times are you find yourself struggling to write.
Quick tip: Try to write for a good 15-30 minutes just before you hit the bed, and just after you open your eyes. You’ll be surprised by what your mind comes up with when you’re half asleep. Tried and tested, my friend!
3) Turn off the distractions
Shut down the laptop. Switch off your phone. Don’t give in to the temptation of checking out the notifications or one more cat gif on 9gag.
It’s no doubt that technology has introduced us to a whole new world of possibilities. But as they say, too much of anything is never good for anyone. So, distance yourself from all the distractions that are sucking the creativity and productivity out of you. Take a deep breath and forget about everything else.
Let the thoughts kick in and attempt to write again.
4) Set deadlines and reward yourself
When your brain keeps stalling to write. Take a stand and boss it around.
Confused? I’ll explain. When you have to finish a piece, instead of giving yourself a whole day, try restricting it to 3-4 hours. Sometimes when you know you have a lot of time in hand, you tend to slack off and procrastinate. So, to avoid the same, challenge yourself to finish the task within the deadline you’ve set, no ifs or buts.
Motivate yourself to reach the milestones one by one, and take a short breather after each. Browse the internet, read something on Quora, or you can do what I prefer. After completing a deadline I’ve set for myself, I have a piece of chocolate(a very good motivation I tell you).
So, choose whatever suits you the best and conquer the block like a pro.
5) Get indulged into something mundane
Trying to release the pressure?
Here’s what you can do. Clean your room, do some gardening or simply take a shower. Rather than staring at the blank screen, give your mind a little distraction. Sure, it’s a little unconventional but trust me, it works.
When your brain retreats, there are increased chances of that Eureka moment to strike. Doing something ordinary like driving, listening to your favorite music can be quite relaxing for your brain and it allows new thoughts and ideas to resurface.
Embrace the fortunate stroke of serendipity. And try again.
One excellent solution to spark some new thoughts in that tired brain of yours? Read, read and read some more. Be it magazines, blogs, or a book by your favorite author. It doesn’t matter whether it’s related to your niche or not, reading always invokes new ideas.
You never know, even skimming through the newspaper headlines or flipping through a magazine, you might stumble upon an idea for your next piece. Or. You can spend an adequate amount of time on Quora. It’s a goldmine of ideas and inspiration, and it can be fun too if you find the right stuff.
So, read away and give your brain a little workout to get those gears moving.
7) Brew some coffee
With incredible powers, coffee is sure to wake your brain right up and get the creative juices flowing.
If not coffee, any other caffeine might do. Within minutes of its intake, it’ll buzz up your blood flow and make you more alert. If you’re doubtful, give this article a read on how coffee boosts creativity and can help you to be a better writer. So, chug some caffeine and ignite new ideas in your worn out brain.
But. Be very careful to keep the intake in moderation, and don’t let it affect your sleeping schedule. Excess of caffeine can highly mess with your creative yields for days to come.
8) Try a new working environment
Don’t stay glued to your old desk and chair. The feeling of stuckness may end up stagnating your thought process. Get up already and drag yourself away from your desk.
Take a trip to the nearest coffee shop or visit a wacky bookstore or maybe just go to a local park; anywhere that’s not associated with work. Carry your notepad or laptop around and write wherever your feet take you.
Experiment with different environments and find the best one which gets you into the writing mood.
9) Take a stroll
Go for a walk. Let your body and mind wander off. Sitting at one place for hours is really unhealthy, and it’s likely to clog up your thought process.
After a few minutes of walk, those stress levels are sure to drop down. It encourages blood flow and induces endorphins. And the numbers prove why. According to a Stanford Study, your creative output increases by an average of 60% when you take a walk.
It might prove to be a great way to brainstorm when you’re finding it hard to get started. Now you need more convincing or you’ll get off the chair already?
10) Sleep on it
Do not do anything. Don’t drink coffee or go for a stroll or read anything.
Maybe it’s enough for the day and you are feeling exhausted.
Cut yourself some slack. Just sleep.
Now it may seem like procrastination or rather counterproductive, but sleeping for a good 7-8 hours is more than necessary to stay energized and focused on the work. So, relax. Sleep on it. Try next day with a refreshed and rejuvenated mind.
And last but not the least.
11) Free write: A fail proof method
Don’t stress yourself. Don’t think. Just write.
Write something, anything; a few lines. It may be pure gibberish, doesn’t matter.
Write about how you’re not able to write. As Charles Bukowski said, “Writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all.”
Don’t fret about the punctuation, spelling or grammatical errors. Keep typing (or keep penning down) whatever comes into your mind. Get your creative flow back. See, you can rectify mistakes in a zealous piece of writing but you can’t add emotions to a post that’s flat. So, be carefree and let it rip.
Skip to the middle. If you’re stuck figuring out the best introduction, try writing the core of your piece first, and get back to the intro later.
I hope these ways will help you get past through the nightmarish writer’s block.
The difference between professional writers and amateurs is this: Both encounter blocks, but one pushes through while the other gets paralyzed.
Do you want to give up or do you want to fight this writer’s block like a pro? The choice is yours!
What methods do you use to overcome a writer’s block? Is there something you find effective which we should have included in the list? Let us know in the comments section!