Everyone has those days when they have a sheet of blank paper in front of them, yet no clue what to fill it with. One could sit and stare at the blinking line on a word document for hours and not type a single word. Writer’s Block is a pain and sometimes one just needs a push to get the creative juices flowing.
Here are 10 ways you can remedy your Writer’s Block.
- 1. Take a Walk
A good way to get past Writer’s Block is to step away from your work and clear your mind. This gives your mind a chance to make room for fresh new ideas. Stretching your legs with a walk is great if you are like me and sit behind a computer all day; fresh air and a low pressure environment could give inspiration a chance to strike. Whether you’re in the city, by the water, or walking past the trees, a change of scenery shakes things up, and will hopefully shake something good onto that paper!
2. People Watch
Done right, stepping away from your work to observe can actually increase productivity. While taking an aimless walk can be useful, some may need a destination to head towards, or an activity to watch. High traffic places like a park, a shopping center, or even a restaurant (a writer’s gotta eat!) are perfect for letting the world pass you by and give you ideas. A nice little cafe is an ideal spot; this way you can get your morning fix of coffee and get inspiration for your novel at the same time. Talk about productive!
Do some research, learn for the sake of learning. The topic can be anything, a historical event that parallels to the story you are writing about, or maybe it’s a topic that’s not even relevant to your current work. You can do this by reading articles online, playing a documentary from Netflix, or even talking to a friend who is knowledgeable in a subject you know nothing about. These fresh new concepts and ideas could spark new inspiration for your work.
While it’s easy to say, “take a break on your work” realistically most of us have deadlines to meet. Whether these deadlines are work-related or self-imposed, time waits for nobody. If that’s the case, listening to music can get you out of your funk. The genre of music varies from person to person. Some listen to tunes that are related to the piece they are working on such as country music for western-inspired novels or modern pop music for a short story with a teenager as a protagonist. If lyrics are too distracting, use karaoke or instrumental versions of songs. If you are unsure, listen to video game tracks because they are composed to keep players engaged and focused on their tasks thus they can have the same effect for when you are creating.
Ask yourself why? When stumped with any kind of mental block, you need to remind yourself why you do the things you do. What made you want to write your story in the first place? Take a moment of quiet meditation in a comfy spot while you figure out the answers to these important questions. Maybe even the location where you first came up with the concept of your work! Going back to the root of your project can sometimes be the solution to your problem.
6. Free Writing
Don’t think too much. Spend 15 minutes creating the first thing that comes to mind. Write without editing, draw without erasing. Spill out the top layers of your thoughts on your sheet of paper and get them out of the way so your mind can be cleared. Sometimes using the stream of consciousness technique of just writing without limits and thinking can lead you to thinking of fresh new ideas.
7. Previous Drafts
Sometimes after revising a piece multiple times, the original message is lost. This is why I would recommend saving those older drafts for future use. You can use these old scraps as inspiration. I’d even take a step further and log any random thought or idea in a journal. Even if the idea seems strange or silly, having a spot where you can dump all your thoughts and look back on when you encounter writer’s block can help you in the long run to keep your creativity flowing.
This should come to no surprise to any of you who are familiar with this site. Sometimes all you need is to be given a theme, a sentence, or a phrase to jumpstart your creativity. There are plenty of ways you can come up with prompts on the fly such as writing a short story based off the title of the last song you heard. Or you can join our group and follow along with our weekly prompts to keep your juices flowing.
9. Restrictions / Limitations
Piggybacking from the previous point, not having the freedom to write or draw whatever you want can actually enhance creativity. Putting simple limitations on your work such as ‘no animals‘ or ‘use only children as protagonists‘ can force you to think out of the box since you are placing an obstacle that you need to figure out a way to work around. Other kinds of restrictions you can place are setting a certain budget for your next sculpture so you can work with materials you usually don’t work with or using only one kind of drawing utensil for your next piece.
While many previous points in this list are about letting loose and allowing as many thoughts and ideas to pour into your mind, this remedy for your Writer’s Block is about organization. When Writer’s Block occurs, sometimes it happens because you have too many ideas to write about yet not enough time to put everything down, or you are simply overwhelmed with the behemoth of a story to put together. Break your ideas down. Put them into different categories and organize them. If you have a story idea, outline that story and put all your events in chronological order. When you organize, you take something messy and break it down to a more manageable size. That way you can definitely know what’s the next step you need to take.
I hope this list cures you of your own mental road blocks. Remember that everyone is different and results will vary when you try these methods on your own time. I’d love to hear other kinds of remedies for Writer’s Block, so if you have any to share, leave a comment below!