Those dreaded words: “writer’s block.”
If you are a blogger, writer, author, poet, or college student, those two words have attacked you. It’s a scary feeling. The words that are n your head will not get out of you. You can do all sorts of things to break it; anything from praying to any deity you would like to (I often pray to the word gods or the blogging gods) but often times that doesn’t always fix the problem. The only problem that is going on is a word blockage problem. Anyone who uses words in a written form knows this problem. But, for every problem, there is an opposite and equal solution. So, here are a few tried and true solutions to breaking through writer’s block.
- Take a nap – This sounds like procrastination but trust me on this, it’s not. Often times, the words will not come out of your head because your brain is on empty. Have you ever tried to walk around the block after shopping for eight hours? I don’t think so. A nap will rest your brain and it might help get those words start to flow again.
- Take a break – Again, this sounds like procrastination but it’s not. If you have a fever, do you go to school? If you have a broken leg, do you try to run the Boston Marathon? No, you take a break. Sometimes overworking the brain will cause a breakdown and 404 will show up. Step away from the computer, grab a pair of headphones and go for a walk around the block. Jam out to some music and let your brain just relax. It might just help you!
- Go get inspired – This is simple yet a tricky task to balance. If you blog about food, go watch a cooking show (or two) but do not spend the next three weeks watching cooking shows. Writing the next science masterpiece? Watch some Star Trek (movie or a couple of shows) but do not watch all of the Original Series episodes and then watch the first six movies. The point of this solution is to get inspired, not glued to the couch. Occasionally, the brain needs to be reminded of the subject matter. So, go remind it, not distract it.
- Do a timed free write – If the writing juices are still running a little dry, try some freewriting. What is freewriting? Well, it is a writing exercise where you write for a short period of time and you ignore your inner critic and editor. You just let the words flow. It’s not a ‘usable’ piece of writing – as in, you can’t just do a free write and publish it on your blog for your weekly post. But it will start to break the dam down and get some words out of your head; and, you might get an idea from the free write. So try to write for a solid five minutes and see where your brain goes.
- Skip ahead – While this might be aimed more toward the novel or storytellers, this can apply to the bloggers and article writers. If you are stuck on something, try something else. This might be writing whatever you are working on in another point of view or change up the writing program you are working with. If that isn’t working for you, skip that post (or chapter) and write that article or blog post that you really want to write. If your passion isn’t in it, then your brain won’t go along for the ride. If your brain doesn’t go for the ride, then your readers won’t want to tag along as well. You may never know, skipping might help you in the long run!
- Scream – Go ahead, just let it out. (Unless you live with others or in an apartment building.) Screaming the stress away might open the floodgates to get the words going. Then again, just screaming might help you feel better. Just try to make sure you are alone.
- Eliminate all distractions – Now, if you haven’t already done this, do it now. Stop tweeting. Stop checking your email. Stop watching cat videos (I know they are awesome but c’mon!) Exit out of Facebook. Stop watching reruns of that show on the USA network. Unplug the internet. Unplug the TV. FOCUS! This is what you need to do. You need to focus and get words on the page. I would guess that at least 10% of writer’s block problems are just the problem of distractions (I’m looking at you college kid!)
- Challenge yourself to a ‘writing challenge’ – What’s this? Well, in layman terms, it is a challenge of writing that you create. Google the terms and you will have a lot of articles and a lot of lists of prompts. There are monthly, weekly, or even daily prompts that you try to write about and work with. If you are lost and don’t really have an idea on where to go with your writing, this will definitely help. It’s even better when you join a group; it will keep you accountable for getting stuff done!
- WRITE – Yes, you read that right. Just write. Get words on the page. Ever heard of NaNoWriMo? That is the National Novel Writing Month, and you know what they are all about? Getting 50,000 words down on the page. Do they have to be the best? No! But the point is to get those words down on that page. It’s easier to fix a bad page of writing rather than trying to fix a blank page. So just write that rough draft of that blog post. Get those words down and fix them later. You’ll thank me later!
Getting over writer’s block is a challenge and it is something you have to work on. It might not happen overnight, but if you keep chipping away from that block, you just might clear it. But if you actually have a large metal box called ‘writer’, please, just pick it up and move it. That might solve all the problems you are having!