7 Simple Ways to Beat Writer's Block
The stage is set: You're at your desk, a tasty beverage at the ready. Your hands are clasped in front of your chin, eyebrows creased in concentration, and you're drawing a blank as large as the blank page illuminating your screen.
Welcome to that not-so-exclusive club of authors dealing with writer's block. From famed playwrights to fledgling scribblers, that kink in the hose of creativity is one of the most frustrating things about writing. But while you're waiting for the train at inspiration station, here are a few tips to start whittling away at that writer's block that's stopping your great ideas from coming through.
1. Create Lists
Some writers bristle at the idea of an outline or framework for their works. Then again, some writers aren't you. Having a list of thoughts regarding your book can keep you focused on the main idea... or just give you a path from which to stray.
However you choose to use it, putting down the ideas you have (even the smallest ones) will help to get your mind working and the ball rolling on filling them in. Don't worry if you don't have every tiny detail ready to write down; start with main ideas—broad strokes—and work from there.
2. Take Notes
Carry a small notebook wherever you go. Over the course of the day, use it to practice free writing while getting coffee, or try your hand at some doodles or sketching, even if you're terrible at drawing (join the club). When an idea pops up, write it or draw it in all its ridiculous, brilliant glory.
The goal isn't to find inspiration in an unidentifiable doodle, but to open the floodgates and allow creativity to flow at all times!
3. Take a Break
Those writers who burn the midnight oil may be burning themselves out in the process. Though it can seem counterintuitive, sometimes the best thing you can do to finish is to take a break.
Put your hands up slowly and step away from the keyboard. Go get something to drink or socialize with friends and give your brain a necessary reboot. The time spent away from your computer can be just as important as the time spent working at it.
4. Experience Something New
Listen to new music, read new books, go someplace new, get new ideas. It stands to reason that if you want to create something new, you'll need new material to draw from, right?
When you present your mind with new information to mull over, you'll be thinking in new and different ways, which can give your creativity that much needed detour around your writer's block.
5. Move Out of the Doghouse
Don't chastise yourself when things don't happen right away. You're not an idiot, you're not incapable, and you're not going to convince the ideas to flow by threateningly brandishing a club in their direction.
Do you beat yourself up over making "mistakes"? Maybe, subconsciously, you're so afraid of making another one; all your ideas stay bottled up lest you receive another self-berating.
Writing should be fun,so go crazy, go nuts, and go easy on yourself.
From other writers to painters and web designers, hang out with other creatives. Swallow your pride and mention that you're going through a dry spell creatively. The stories of artistic drought you get in return will put you at ease that you're not alone and may reveal other avenues past your writer's block.
7. See it Through!
Even if you think what you're putting down is terrible, keep writing! No one's standing over your shoulder, judging every word and waiting to grab your first draft. Even if it means coming back later to improve things, you can do more with a lackluster start than a stack of blank pages.
Don't give up on writing. Keep at it!