There’s nothing worse than the feeling of staring at a blank screen, willing the words to come.
We’ve all been there, whether we write for a living, or it’s just one aspect of our work. Just because you may enjoy writing, that’s no guarantee it comes easy all the time. The ideas or the flow can’t just be turned on like a tap.
The good news is, though, that there are strategies that give writer’s block a good 1-2 punch. So, don’t just sit there and take it – fight your way back into the writing groove.
1. Take a walk
Sometimes all you need is a change of scenery. Even if you’ve got a deadline looming, take 5 or 10 minutes to get out into the fresh air and change your view. Avoid headphones and just be open to observing what’s around you – sights, sounds and smells. Inspiration can be found anywhere, and you may find just the thing to move you beyond your roadblock.
2. Read something
If you’re under pressure you might not have much time. If you’ve got longer to ruminate, you may be able to switch your focus for a little while. Whatever the case may be, you need to do some reading of writing that’s not yours. That may be a book, an article, blog post or simply a twitter feed. If you’ve been sitting with your own writing for some time, you may need to interrupt the pattern as a way of creatively resetting yourself.
3. Take yourself on a creative date
This one is my personal favourite strategy, because I find it really opens up my creativity if I’ve been feeling flat. Some suggestions for creative dates are the museum, a public transport adventure (even better if the final destination is unknown), fabric shopping, $2 shop wandering with a $10 budget, or wandering through some beautiful gardens. You can be as cheap a date as you like!
4. Change your writing mode
If you’ve been committed to your keyboard, opt for journal handwriting with a pen. If you can’t bear to put your computer down, change the font size and style, or move from Google Docs into Word or Notes. It may just be the tweak you need to get the ideas flowing again.
5. Write at a different time
There’s nothing like a time zone change to reset your system, so if you’re a morning writer, try the night shift. If your tap, tapping happens into the night, try the day shift. Routine can breed predictability, so don’t be surprised if you create some great new stuff.
6. Write what has to be written first
By that, I don’t mean the item on deadline, but the stuff that is standing in the way of your creativity – the story/poem/post that simply must be gotten ‘off your chest’. It doesn’t need to be a masterpiece, as a blurt will suffice. Once this writing is done, the rest has a chance to step forward out of the wings, where it has been waiting patiently.
7. Start anywhere
Whether you’re working on an article, story, blog post or novel, don’t fall into the trap of thinking you must write chronologically. Write wherever the inspiration strikes you, worrying about how it will all fall into place later.
Rather outsource instead? Be in touch to handball your writing task my way. I look forward to helping you out!