Tips for overcoming writer’s block: 7 ideas to get you writing again
Have you ever walked into a room and completely forgotten why you were there? Writer’s block is a little like that. We know we’ve opened our laptops for a reason. We know our fingers should be tapping away and yet, we sit there staring at the glow of a blank screen.
When writing is your hobby, writer’s block is frustrating. But when writing pays your bills, this can be extremely unnerving or even scary when you can’t seem to break through the wall. I’ve had quite a bit of experience when it comes to finding fresh inspiration. So, this blog goes through some hints and tips I’ve picked up to mute the internal screaming and help get rid of writer’s block.
What is writer’s block?
Writer’s block is essentially a mental freeze: when nothing can penetrate an imaginary wall in a writer’s mind to spark their creativity. It’s a very frustrating experience and can also appear at the most inconvenient times! Imagine the wheel of death on the final episode of your favourite show! When it hits, it can be anxiety-inducing for a writer; spurring on imposter syndrome thoughts such as: ‘I’m no good’, ‘Why would anyone employ me?’ or ‘I can’t do this’.
Although there’s no cure for writer’s block, there are lots of different ways to escape the downward spiral and get your text back on track.
7 ideas to smash through writer’s block
1. Wander outside
A change of scenery is a quick and easy way to forget about your writer’s block. Not only is walking great for your physical and mental well-being, but it makes you take a step back from the screen and soak up your natural surroundings. Walk a familiar route or try somewhere new to experience different sounds, sights and scents. By focusing on something off-topic, your brain stirs up original ideas you may have not previously considered.
2. Talk it out
Whether it’s out loud to yourself, calling a friend for a rant or chatting nonsense to your pet (they’re great listeners you know!). Talking allows you to break down the problem. Often, when you discuss an issue out loud, your brain automatically figures out the solution. Often before you’ve finished outlining the problem. An outside perspective can also help offer an alternative opinion.
3. Let your subconscious take over
Any excuse for a nap is a good one! Our subconscious has an incredible ability to debate and resolve issues somewhere at the back of our brain (there’s probably a scientific term for this!). Whilst we dream of ice cream fountains, telling our bosses to ‘piss off’ or enjoying our imaginary superhero powers, our brain works through any creative blockages we have. Meaning we wake up refreshed and inspired to keep writing.
4. Make a cuppa
Not only does a cup of tea make any situation better, especially when accompanied by several biscuits. But by focusing your attention on an activity or process you stop worrying about the issue in front of you. Again, your brain concentrates on the task at hand whilst your subconscious busies away breaking down your writer’s wall.
5. Work up a sweat
Writer’s block can cause writers a lot of unnecessary anxiety and depression, especially if it extends over a period of time. When we exercise, whether that’s a brisk walk, calming yoga class or a weights session at the gym, our body releases endorphins and that feel-good buzz! Once your mind is filled with positivity, you can often find a solution to your writing woes.
6. Write nonsense and edit later
Stream of consciousness is a handy hack to practise writing skills, create story ideas or journal your thoughts and feelings. It helps slim down the millions of open tabs within your mind, storing them in another place and freeing up space for more important and creative thoughts. Yes, you’ll write a load of waffle which is always entertaining when you come to reread it! But it’s a form of stress relief. You never know, there might be a hidden gem amongst those scribbles.
7. Hug your pet
If you have a furry friend, then now’s the time to pay them some extra attention. If your pet is anything like my old pup (RIP Mosslin), they’ll be invading your workspace anyway! But it’s proven that by cuddling someone you have a bond with, your body releases oxytocin – the love hormone – making you feel happy and comforted. A great way to destress and refocus.
Whatever you do, don’t panic
As irritating as it is, writer’s block is a part of life, whether you’re a professional writer or not. Sadly, JK Rowling didn’t come up with a Hogwarts spell for it and there’s no solution. So, rather than fight it, embrace it. Use it as an excuse to take a break and do something fun!