Writing is either the most rewarding or the most frustrating activity in the world. The despair of being stuck on a sentence can make you pull your hair out. Fortunately, there are many ways to combat writer’s block so you don’t have to spend fruitless hours in front of Microsoft Word.
Here are ten tactics you can use to get rid of this irritating syndrome:
1. Free Write
Write down everything that comes to your mind. Not knowing what to write is often a case of being too selective. Get your ideas flowing, and the inspiration will come eventually.
For most people, speaking comes more naturally than writing. Pretend you’re talking to a friend and use dictation software like Dragon Naturally Speaking to transpose your speech into text, which you can edit afterwards.
The old-school method. Scribble out a mindmap or any brainstorming diagram of your choice and start jotting down your thoughts in brief notes.
4. Eliminate Distractions
If you’re a chronic procrastinator, writer’s block may arise from lack of focus. Clear your desk and shut off all unnecessary electronics, including your computer. Pen and paper can go a long way.
5. Change Your Angle
We’re all psychologically wired to want to finish what we start. When we get stuck on a certain topic, it’s easy to become obsessed over that narrow focus, desperately trying to churn out words. Keep in mind that you can always start from the beginning and write about something different entirely.
6. Tie in Something You Know About
The more knowledgeable you are about a topic, the easier it is to write about. This is why authors often use personal experiences as the foundations of their storylines. Writing about an area of expertise also makes the writing stronger because it allows you to get into specifics.
7. Skip Over Parts
If you’re really stumped on a section, skipping over it is one of the most efficient things you can do. If you’ve made a general outline, writing in sequential order is not necessary.
8. Take a Break
Relaxing can be very difficult when you’re frustrated and need to get things done, but difficult tasks are often the most effective. A bit of fresh air and exercise can work wonders on your creativity. Avoid mentally distracting tasks like television, video games, or reading. You want to give your mind a rest, give your body a jolt, and then get back to work as soon as possible.
9. Online Idea Generators
I never use these myself because I’m not into writing fiction, but they can definitely help generate plot ideas. A popular one is SeventhSanctum.
10. Imagine Yourself Having a Good Idea
Visualization is a deceptively powerful tool. See yourself getting that creative spark, believe that it’ll come, and you’ll get it eventually. Persistence requires motivation, and having a positive attitude will, at the very least, relieve some stress.
photo by [phil h]