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How to Overcome Writer’s Block

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If you’re a writer, at some point you have encountered the dreaded writer’s block. It’s so common among writers that there are what looks like a million website pages devoted to the subject. In fact, it’s such a familiar pain that I once wrote a poem about it and everyone in my writers group chuckled in recognition when I read it to them. There are many reasons it can happen – life changes, our need for perfectionism, timing, fear of rejection – but it doesn’t need to affect you for long. Try some of the following ideas and before you know it you’ll be back to creating your masterpiece.

  1. Get rid of distractions: quit checking your social media, turn off that TV blaring in the background, unclutter your writing space, and make sure you will have a few hours of alone time, away from the interruptions of roommates or family members, to focus.

2. Listen to classical music: a great aid for getting in the zone, classical music has been recognized for increasing brain power and concentration. I did this all the time while writing endless theory papers for grad school and it really helped me stay focused.

3. Try journaling: grab a journal and pen, and spend 10-20 minutes writing about yourself, your feelings, your cat’s excessive grooming habits, whatever. Just write anything and keep at it. You’ll be amazed how fast new ideas and thoughts come to you when you’re freewriting. Plus, some studies suggest journaling can also help alleviate your stress and who doesn’t need that?

4. Go do something physical, preferably outdoors: take the dog for a walk around the block, practice some yin yoga and deep breathing, listen to a guided meditation, connect with your inner child and head over to the local playground to swing for a few minutes. Anything that gets your body and brain moving in a relaxed way will relieve the tension and improve your creativity.

5. Switch over to another art form: I dedicated an entire blog post to this one. You can read all about it here.

6. Set a schedule and stick to it: every writer I know does this one. Schedule writing into your daily life the same way (I’m hoping) you do your daily hygiene: wake up, brush your teeth, and write. If you come to a place where you have no idea what to write next, just write anything. Go back and edit the last paragraph or line. Change a word or a character’s name. Switch the location from Tibet to Mars. Something. Anything. Just keep working on it and don’t quit. If you never give up, you’ll eventually finish it.

  • Brian T Shirley

    Great post