I’d be lying if I said this sentence was typed immediately after the title. The fact is, many internal thoughts compete to be heard whenever I start an article. This is partly due to a perfectionist streak. But it’s mainly because of the overbearing evil that plagues me and all other writers from time to time—writer’s block.
To have any hope of defeating this nasty foe, writers have to be simultaneously focused, clear, ruthless, and creative. If the mere thought of this breaks any of you out in a cold sweat, don’t panic. You’re very capable of juggling all these things and juggling them well. Keep in mind that having writer’s block does not mean you can’t write, it simply means you fear writing poorly. Therefore, to overcome it, you just need to get into the right mindset before writing.
On that note here are some tricks which, if put into practice, can get you in the zone and kill writer’s block dead.
Spend long periods doing anything BUT writing
Sometimes, an effective antidote to writer’s block is simply engaging in anything besides writing for a while. Spend an hour or two of your day doing something that calms you. Time away from the screen resets your brain for creativity and instills a hungry ‘Let’s do this!’ attitude when you return.
As an example, I feel at my most creative and stimulated after doing some housework to uplifting music. The feeling of completing a task—however small and mundane—clears my mind and leaves me feeling refreshed and eager to plow on. Everybody’s different though!
Eliminate online distractions
When you rely on the internet for research, it’s all too easy to feel the lure of social media when words aren’t flowing. Thankfully, though, there are clever little apps you can use in your internet browser to keep you from wandering. Most browsers have tools that allow you to block specific websites for a fixed period of time, e.g. 9am to 2pm or 1pm to 4pm. Whatever your personal working schedule, you can make sure you see it through and stay focused. You can find out how to use these apps in your own web browser here (this guide was aimed at students but freelance writers can certainly benefit too!).
If all else fails, switch off the internet completely. On days when the distractions are too tempting, I like to open all the tabs I need and then switch off the internet. This way, I’m still able to view and scroll through my research in offline mode but cannot access any others. I feel much less inclined to turn the internet back on once I’m sitting down comfortably in another room.
Listen to instrumental music
This might be a classical album or a playlist of ‘chill out’ songs (you can find a zillion of these for free on YouTube). The simple repetitive notes and movements of instrumental music have been shown to stimulate the brain and gear it towards creativity in a way that other songs don’t.
Listening to your favorite music or artist will certainly put you in a good mood and possibly even motivate you to write, but the actual writing process can be interrupted by lyrics and catchy melodies. Lyrics especially may try and compete with your inner voice and throw you off track. Instrumental music, by comparison, increases alpha waves in the brain which promotes a slow and meditative state, putting you in a better frame of mind to tackle your mental roadblocks and find the words you’re looking for.
If writing to your favorite pop, country, or rap songs works for you, kudos! But the relaxation benefits of instrumental music are highly recommended in times of severe writer’s block.
Don’t write with your ‘critical hat’ on
It’s essential to be critical of yourself in the editing process but never whilst you are still writing. Many budding authors keep a book burning inside them for years because they let the fear of inadequacy rule them. It’s understandable to want to sound eloquent as it will lend your article more authority (and maybe get you 5 stars), but this shouldn’t be the focus of your writing process.
It is far better to write freely than be burdened by what can be changed later. Let your critical eye take a back seat. Learn to appreciate a simpler form of your own writing style for better success.
Hopefully, you’re now armed with some great tips to ensure writer’s block doesn’t stand in the way of creating great content. Do you have any rituals for overcoming writer’s block? Tell us what you do to stay creative in the comments below!
This article was written by one of our writers. The author’s views are entirely their own and may not reflect the views of WritersDomain.