Have you ever found yourself looking at a blank page for a long time, wanting to compose but struggling to come up with the right words? You’re not the only one who feels this way. This is known as writer’s block, and it affects all authors, from writers to playwrights.
If you’ve ever had writer’s block, you know how frustrating it can be — it can prevent you from writing for days, weeks, or even months. Although it may be easy to neglect the issue, hoping that it can go away on its own, writer’s block is one of those pests that demands active management.
You sit down at your keyboard, intending to write, but instead find yourself staring at a blank page. You write a few lines, then uninstall it after a few minutes. You really can’t seem to come up with the correct vocabulary to keep going. It’s as if the creative well has abruptly run dry. What options do you have?
What is a Writer’s Block?
Writer’s block is a condition in which you are unable to continue writing and/or begin writing anything new. Some people believe it’s an actual illness, and others say it’s all in their heads.
Regardless, we should all accept that writer’s block is a frustrating and daunting problem to resolve. It’s a writer’s problem that’s best characterized as an intense sense of being trapped in the writing process and unable to go on and write something different. While resolving writer’s block is typically a unique process for each person, numerous resources are available to assist authors.
Causes of Writers Block:
Writer’s block can be caused by a variety of factors, depending on the individual. Some claim that writer’s block is caused by a lack of creativity or even talent. However, this isn’t always the circumstance.
When trying to figure out what’s behind your writer’s block, ask yourself some questions.
- Do you think you’ll never be able to write?
- Do you fear that a reviewer or an editor will reject your work?
- Are you apprehensive about the upcoming artistic project?
- Is it true that people are interested in what I have to say?
You are not alone if you replied yes to all of these questions. Many aspiring authors worry that they aren’t good enough.
A Lack of Motivation
Authors convince themselves that now is not the time to publish. Instead, they like to wait until their plans are ready or until they have enough time to compose before they start writing.
What’s the problem with this way of thinking? You’re delaying the writing process by waiting for the thoughts or inspiration to hit. There is no such thing as a suitable time for excellent literature.
Isn’t it true that perfectionism is beneficial to authors who wish to keep themselves to a higher standard? However, pursuing perfection inhibits your ability to generate new ideas and write creatively. It would also prevent you from completing the task at hand.
It’s now more than ever possible to let a diversion get in the way of your writing. Notifications, messages, phone calls, dishes, and other obligations… the list goes on and on. These will draw your mind away from your writing if you don’t exercise self-control. They may also erect insurmountable barriers to publishing.
Have you ever started writing an essay or a book chapter and then abandoned it for a day, a week, or a month? Time passes, and you’re already working on the draught without a definite schedule or timetable. Taking a break from the blank screen if you like, but procrastinating without a justification is just that.
It’s difficult for authors to find a suitable working climate. For some authors, cafés are too loud. Working from home and overcoming the isolation of becoming a writer are both challenging. For a severe case of writer’s block, the wrong workspace will make authors feel stuck and unproductive.
How to Overcome Writer’s Block
It’s as simple and as complicated as that. (Yes, we did quote Bukowski here) Whatever may the case be, we are here to save the day before the deadlines haunt you in your dreams. Following is a super cool and manageable list of 10 things you should do to get yourself out of writer’s block. Before you start worrying, we did not include thinking in the shower and making a habit of writing journal entries. (Well, unless it works! In which case..)
1. Create a writing schedule.
“Creativity is a habit, and the greatest creativity is a product of healthy work habits,” To others, this can be counterintuitive. Isn’t imagination something that ebbs and flows spontaneously, not something that you can plan for? But the fact is that if you just write when you’re “feeling ambitious,” you’ll end up in a tangle of writer’s block.
Only by forcing yourself to compose on a daily basis would you be able to persevere. It could be every day, every other day, or just on weekends — whatever it is, make it a habit!
2.Take it easy on the first draft.
Perfectionism is a common problem among authors, and it can be particularly crippling during the first draft. Writers sometimes get stuck, and they put so much pressure on themselves to get things right the first time. Allowing yourself to write imperfectly is an excellent way to open up and enjoy the ride again in a draft.
Mind that “perfection is the enemy of progress,” so don’t sweat the small stuff! You may still go back and make changes or have a second set of eyes go at the manuscript. However, for the time being, just adding the words on the website would suffice.
3. Allow Yourself To Write Badly
Writer’s block usually stems from believing that your writings are not ‘up to the mark’ and ‘good enough.’ We are here to tell you that there is no such thing as enough goodness. Insecurity might look like the biggest roadblock for now, but you’re always only 10 minutes away from pushing yourself out of it.
So many authors frequently find themselves stuck in the cycle of evaluating their writing on some imaginary scorecard. They don’t realize that their writing need not be perfect all the time. Sometimes it just has to be.
Inkskinned on Tumblr said, “The pursuit of perfection kills joy, and I hope whatever you do today, you are allowed to do it badly.” and this is the most remarkable advice you’ll ever get. For once, free yourself from any and every adjective that may precede the word writer and just hop onto it. Whether or not you’re motivated, whether or not you have the bandwidth, try leaving these thoughts at your doorstep and take action. Once you get through a significant number of words, the quality will follow, we promise!
4. Revisit Some Of Your Previous Writings
This might be all the source of motivation you’re looking for. Sometimes we inadvertently compare ourselves with other people and begin belittling ourselves in our heads. Not only is this negative affirmation, but it also engrains a sense of disbelief and skepticism in the minds of writers.
Revisiting some of your best pieces could remind you of the glory they brought, the number of people moved by it, the compliments it garnered, and many more positive affirmations associated with it.
This subconsciously motivates you to connect back with your best self and pushes you towards regaining your fortitude. Remember, only you are your competition. Stop trying to convince yourself otherwise. This is not a race.
5.Text Your Friends, But Don’t Hit Send
Sometimes our senses are clogged with so many good and bad things happening around us. We may locate ourselves in overwhelming predicaments more often than we think, and dealing with all of it kind of blocks our ability to introspect and express ourselves creatively. This is where this hack comes in, open the inbox of your closest friend and type it all out.
Without defense or reserve, all you have to do is let it all flow out, everything you’ve conjured up within yourself, all your lows, hesitations, and dilemmas.
Doing this lets you acknowledge all this for yourself, and you get a clearer picture as to why you’ve been feeling the way you are. To clear things out, this can prove to be a great place to start. If you’re comfortable enough, we recommend hitting send too!
6.Rewrite Your Works
Most writers do not consider this at first go but think about it. If you’ve written something once, you sure as hell can write it twice. And with such minimal effort, since all your research is already done. All you have to do is pick up a snippet from your favorite works and simply begin paraphrasing it into a little more inventive and unique manner without altering the primary meaning.
This helps because you’re aware of the headspace you were in when you wrote that piece, and you know exactly what inspired it. So when you look up synonyms and use passive voice to modify your work, you’re tricking your brain into researching and perfecting the linguistics yet again, and this can be a significant step in getting your creative juices to flow again.
7. Use inaccurate vocabulary
A writer may spend hours searching for the right word or expression to convey a message. You should escape this pointless exercise by saying, “In other words…” and actually writing what you’re thinking, regardless of how eloquent it is.
Searching for the exact words will take a lot of time. Reserve time in the near future to replace it with words that describe a particular situation exactly.
8.Go over it with a pen and paper.
Freewriting entails writing without stopping for a predetermined amount of time — with no concern for grammar, spelling, or topic. You simply compose. It doesn’t matter if what you scribble is unrelated to the current project. Freewriting’s aim is to write without second-guessing yourself — free of doubt, and all add to writer’s block. To get started, follow these steps:
- Look for the best setting. You should go somewhere where you won’t be bothered.
- Choose your writing implements. Will you write with a pen and paper or type on your computer?
- Set a time limit on yourself. Set the timer for 10 minutes the first time around to get a feel for it. As you get more familiar with freewriting, you will steadily raise this interval.
9.Make Use Of Prompts
Writing Prompts are the tools that provide you with a pre-determined context to pick your stories up from. They provide you with a setting, a character, the situation, and all you have to do is build from it. Prompts are essentially worthwhile because they already do the difficult work for you. A wide range of prompts is available across the net.
Authors can also use microblogging platforms like Tumblr, Terribly Tiny Tales App, Miraquill, and more, where there is a wide range of prompts available. Some good examples of Prompts could be these, “ Your significant other went missing a decade ago. They returned, and your entire family is celebrating. Unlike you, who remember murdering them. Write a story building on that.”
Now, this could be used as the plot for a terrific thriller fiction. There is a diverse spectrum of prompts available for writing poetry as well. For example, write a poem including the words “riot in the throat.”
10. Heighten audiovisual stimulus
Studies have shown that our thought process is channelized much more extensively when we have exploited our exposure to some kind of audiovisual stimulus. Remember how you get this inkling feeling as a writer leading to this weird urge to write just after you’ve watched a movie that left you sulking?
You can make use of that and deliberately get yourself to watch any kind of movie you know will coerce and shake you. But, of course, you cannot always rely on researching from text-based sources, and that’s okay, you don’t have to. Everyone has their creative process.
For example- if you intend to write a short story that centers around the main character suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder, then it might be a decent idea to watch a movie on it first. This way, the outcome will be more enhanced and consist of real-time inferences, immediately giving the reader a fun and original encounter of an experience.
11. Read Something You Enjoy
Admit it, everyone has a set of go-to screenshots, including verses that just make us feel like we have something churning in our guts because that’s how powerful those words are. To feed ourselves with thoughts such as these, one can always reread these snippets or annotated parts of a book we like, not even to write something afterward, but to simply enjoy the creative freedom that comes with resonating with a great piece of literature.
Some people have particularly earmarked pages in the stack of their books that just do their thing and lend a truckload of feelings to them. You can also take a complete break from writing and devote a week to completing the book that’s been on your reading list since forever.
To give yourself a pause, if you’re only into fiction, try switching to a book of contemporary poetry or letters or classic books like Animal Farm by George Orwell. What matters is the fact that you’re letting yourself immerse in the book!
12. Switch to Easier Formats
Offer yourself a little leeway and play with your writing style. Many young writers adhere to the rigidity that comes with following one writing format distinctive to them. It’s always a reasonable idea to keep experimenting with many formats and expanding your scope of expertise.
Not only does that make you a versatile content writer, but it also broadens your reach and visibility as an author. For example: if you’re only used to writing blog articles, you can try scriptwriting, poetry writing, and the many forms it encompasses, you could even try writing no brainer marketing copies for a change.
The point is, allow yourself to get away from the extensive research and the need for perfection in long-term content to switch to something a little less complicated and a lot more different from your usual style. Don’t forget, any kind of change is never a bad idea.
13. Alter Your Setting
If you’ve been feeling a little out of line and constantly find yourself getting irked about writing content as you should be, chances are you’re either demotivated or just bored. Whatever may be the case, all you have to do is this one simple thing, change something about your life.
Breaking the monotony and doing something different can matter more than you think it would. Be it the writing software you use, your study desk, your preferred genre, the type of content you write, your wallpaper, or simply your hair color.
Along with embedding flexibility, it will help you adapt yourself and move forward instead of being fastened to one spot. There’s a fair chance that the only thing that leads you to this block in the first place is your mundane routine and doing the same thing over and over. When in fact, a change and illusion of progress just might be all you need to get going.
14. Copy Your Favorite Writers
This is one of my go-to hacks. We all have that one favorite writer that we pick our language-building style from. For example, say your favorite writer is Mary Oliver, so you have to ask yourself that if Mary Oliver hadn’t written this sentence and you would have written it instead, how would you have framed it in a manner that it would’ve conveyed the very same emotion and stood out at the same time?
Doing this forces you to first identify the intrinsic emotion behind particular writing, then decipher the writing based on this emotion, and finally rewrite it in a way that bags you the same appreciation it did them. You can pick snippets from poetry, prose, dialogues, blog posts and work along those lines.
Ending Writers Block?
Somebody once said about fitness that the only bad workout is the one you didn’t do, and the same goes for writing. So even when you’re feeling all stomped up and unworthy, lower the bars temporarily but always put in a slight effort.
It only takes a little while for a provisional break to turn into permanent stagnation, and you most certainly do not want that. So before you get too comfortable being in that phase, we recommend you keep trying on every single one of these pointers mentioned above and figure out what works the best for you.
Of course, writing is a uniform process, but you know, one of those days where you just wake up in the middle of the night and your mind is engulfed with ideas and wanders into so many directions — that is the satisfaction that makes it all worth it. And that comes from consistency, scheduling, and most importantly, not giving up. You’re a writer, so be it. Let it grow on you a little more every day!