5 Ways To Beat Writer’s Block
Writer’s block: it’s something all writers are unfortunately well-acquainted with. The definition is “a condition, primarily associated with writing, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work, or experiences a creative slowdown” (source).
While that sounds incredibly bleak, there are ways to vanquish writer’s block, so can get back to generating great story ideas and creating amazing work in no time. I am going to outline five methods that you can utilize the next time writer’s block makes itself known.
Instead of staring at the piece of writing you’ve been attempting to work on for the last hour (or week), maybe it’s time to write about something else. There are many websites out there that are dedicated to providing interesting writing prompts, such as these prompts from Writer’s Digest, 365 Creative Writing Prompts by ThinkWritten, or this list of story ideas by the Writer’s Academy. But you don’t have to rely on websites to generate writing ideas, either. Sometimes all you need is a fresh piece of paper (or a new Word document, whichever you prefer) and the time just to write the first things that come to mind. By writing from prompts or just simply writing whatever you want, you are allowing your creativity to flow. Hopefully, this creative flow will continue when you decide to return to the piece that you’ve been struggling with.
There comes a time where you just need to leave your laptop or notebook behind and head for the outdoors (weather permitting). Sometimes all your mind needs is a nice walk outside in order to clear your thoughts and feel re-energized. Plus, the change of scenery might help provide you with some inspiration. You can listen to your favorite music or just take in the noises of nature. If it pouring rain or absolutely freezing outside, the alternative is to exercise indoors. This could be heading to a gym or doing fifteen minutes of yoga in your room. These activities can also help give your mind a break while also making you feel more refreshed.
Instead of brooding by yourself in some dark corner over how you’ll never finish this story… try chatting with a friend instead. Whether this means simply calling someone up on the phone or meeting someone over lunch, talking with someone else will allow you to get outside your head for awhile and hopefully make you feel better in the process. You don’t even have to discuss your writing struggles if you don’t want to. But if you do choose to bring up your writing troubles, listen to what they have to say without taking it too personally or getting defensive. Be open. See their feedback as helpful, not hurtful.
There’s nothing wrong with turning to your favorite authors for a little bit of help and inspiration. Re-read your favorite books and take note of why these books are indeed your favorite. Analyze aspects such as word choice, characterization, setting, sentence flow, formatting, etc. What do you like? What do you dislike? Pay attention to what you think works. Hopefully, after reading a book or two, your mind will be buzzing with new ideas to incorporate into your own story and you will feel motivated enough to write again.
Sometimes all you need to do is change it up. A change of scenery, for example, could work wonders. If your usual writing spot is at your desk in your room, maybe it’s time to head to a local coffee house, the library, or even outside at a park. If you typically sit in silence while writing, start creating that writing playlist right now. Swap out the laptop for a notebook, or vice versa. If you always start writing the beginning first, why not write the ending first this time – or maybe start right in the middle. These are little changes, but they can make a huge difference.
Writer’s block isn’t fun, but it also isn’t forever. Along with the five approaches mentioned above, there are many ways to get over the writer’s block that you might be experiencing. No matter how challenging your writer’s block might be, you will continue to write things that you are proud of as long as you don’t keep making excuses. Writer’s block can be beaten!
The staff here at Sheepshead Review is excited to launch the new Spring 2018 issue soon. Be sure to check out our website and social media (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) to keep up-to-date on all things Sheepshead Review.