Writer’s block. An antagonist that all writers face at some point in their lives. Although writer’s block can feel like you are perpetually stuck in the mud, there are some common ways to combat this enemy. I am here to help you on this journey, so I will list and explain some of the ways that I personally battle the dreaded block.
I know it might feel like you’re wasting time by doing something as fun as picking up a good book and settling in for some reading, but trust me on this one. All writers must have an undying love for reading. You might pick up a book and feel a little jealous that the author of that published work passed the test of writer’s block, but I’m here to tell you that even the best of the best must continuously battle this frustrating ailment. Reading not only gets you relaxed and helps with the frustration, but it also helps to subconsciously give you inspiration. Anyone who knows me and reads my works can automatically pick out scenes or elements of my stories that I have written with other authors or books as inspiration. Ideas can strike without you even knowing it, as you read along to another author’s work. Then when you return to your own work you have fresh ideas and inspiration to work with.
This one might make you feel a bit silly, but hang with me for a second. Any of my fellow writers working through mental health issues can probably attest to the helpfulness of a good clearing of the mind. I know how upsetting and frustrating the lack of ideas and writing inspiration can be. You can start to feel like your mind is too crowded to come up with any new ideas. If you have other things going on in your life while trying to write (work stress, family matters, etc.) then you might not can focus just on your work. This might be an underlying cause of your writer’s block. For me personally, a lot of my focus is drawn into my college courses right now, so whether I am working on homework or my personal writings I am usually distracted by classes. If you are facing writer’s block with a crowded mind, try stepping away and meditating. You don’t necessarily have to sit cross-legged in the floor and listen to relaxing flute music, which seems to be the stereotypical image of meditation. Try finding something that helps you to personally clear your head. It could be walking your dog, cooking a dish, taking a bubble bath, or listening to your favorite song. Find whatever helps you as an individual to unclutter your thoughts. As they have an app for just about everything now, you could try an app. I have used one in particular that is very nice and helps teach you how to untangle your thoughts, and I recommend it. It’s called “Headspace” if any of you would like to search it and put it to use.
I know what you’re thinking, what is looking around at things going to do for my writer’s block? I have always been the type of person to sit back and observe, rather than jump into the action or socialization. A wallflower in other words. I am much more comfortable watching and noticing things, especially in a crowd, than I am standing and interacting in the mix. By doing this all my life, I have acquired lots of inspiration for my writings. When I notice myself starting to lack in inspiration, I will grab a notebook and go to a park or a coffee shop in my home town and just observe. I will observe the people and things around me and how they interact. For example, I take note of how a bird interacts with a passing pedestrian, or how a squirrel skitters up a tree. By doing this, I practice my skills in description, gain analogies to use in works, and I also gain character inspiration. I know this one is a little difficult to do in the trying times that we find ourselves in, but our observation skills never stop working. Find something to observe. If you have a favorite movie, watch it and observe something that you might not have caught while watching it before. If you have a favorite show, take notes on the quirky behaviors your favorite characters possess. If you have a favorite or a love of art, observe the different details in a piece of art and ponder the meanings of those different details. All of these are ways of sitting back and observing.
Okay guys again hear me out. You’re here because you have writer’s BLOCK, how can I expect you to battle that by doing the one thing it feels like you can’t do…write? The answer is simple, you do not have to have active inspiration in order to write. I like to keep a journal of any thoughts that simply won’t go away. In times of writer’s block, I take my journal and elaborate on those clinging thoughts. It could be thoughts on the trying times we face, rouge shower thoughts that you can’t get out of your head, or just something you wish you had said to someone but didn’t. I tend to talk to myself in my journal. I sometimes give myself advice or pretend I’m talking to a friend. My journal is like an imaginary friend for a twenty-year-old. Some things I write in there probably wouldn’t be coherent for outsiders to read, but it gets my hand moving and my brain gears turning. Just write. It doesn’t matter what it’s about. Sit at your computer or with your notebook and let the words flow. To paraphrase Hemmingway, “sit at your typewriter and bleed.”
#5: Get Feedback
This one was once very difficult for me. I was far too shy to actually let anyone read my work. But if there is anything that four years of high school marching and concert band taught me, it is that constructive criticism and feedback play a huge role in improving and making progress. If it’s only you staring at a work, then inspiration will begin to run dry more and more often. While I am confident that all of you reading this are plenty imaginative and talented to write a novel or work by yourselves, you don’t have to work so hard. Reach out for help. Letting someone else read and give feedback on your work can give you ideas and perspectives that you may have never thought of. If your own imagination can accomplish however much of a work you’ve gotten done so far, then imagine what you and your friend, or your sibling, or your parent, or a fellow writer could accomplish! Be open to what they have to say about it. My little sister is seventeen years old and she is the biggest critic I have. She reads my works occasionally, and she is harsh in telling me everything she would do different. At first, this means of feedback was very hard to hear. But in time I learned to appreciate and use her bluntness to my advantage. My writings improved and my perspective on my style of writing changed. My friend, and co-author, @blackangel1212 is a fellow writer who I go to very often for feedback. She reads most of my works long before I venture to post them, because her perspective and feedback adds to the quality of my work. Be open and reach out. Don’t be shy! Who knows they might fall in love with your work! That happened by surprise recently for me! Let your creativity be changed by and possibly even change someone else’s perspective. The worst that could happen is they don’t like it. Trust me friends, it’s worth that small risk.
#6: Let your creativity flow
Writer’s are artists! We create mental films using the written word! When we experience writer’s block it feels like that creativity is, well, blocked. I know many of you like to draw and paint. That’s a wonderful way to get those creative cogs turning. I personally enjoy turning to music as an alternate creative hobby. I can’t exactly buy and bring a whole marimba home to play, which is the instrument I played in high school, but I can find other musical means of being creative. With the skills I learned from high school I can sort of play the piano, and I also enjoy looking up pieces of music and following along to the tune’s written sheet music. Any other creative hobbies you have are wonderful ways to keep your creativity flowing while you are stuck in your writing.
I use these methods to prevent and work my way out of difficult writer’s block moments. Whether you are currently going through writer’s block or just want to try and prevent it from happening in the future, I hope these methods help. You’ll get through these little battles and eventually make it to the end of a work. Whatever you do, don’t give up! If you just stop all effort in trying to get over this little hump, that’s when you let writer’s block win. You and the work you’ve started deserve better than that! I wish you the best of luck and happy writing!
What do you think of these tips guys!! I’m more than sure that as writer’s you have gone through similar experiences. If you would like to know some more tips for other problems you may face, comment below what you would want to hear about next! Remember to stay safe and healthy ❤