Whether you are a book author, a blogger, a journalist or someone who likes to keep a diary, writer’s block can creep up on you from out of the blue and ruin your day. If it lasts long enough it can take money right out of your pocket.
As someone who has made a living one way or another with the written word for over 20 years, I have discovered a trick or two that really help when I find myself doing anything else but writing. <Important things… like dusting.
8 Tips to combat writer’s block
1. Push back from your desk, put on your running or walking shoes and get outside. It could just be that all the blood that should be up in your brain has pulled in your… lower regions… and getting it moving might stimulate some creativity. If you live in a major city, look around you for inspiration. You may see it in an advertisement or in the face of someone else who is enjoying their time out of the office.
If you live in the country, count on a little tranquility to refresh your mind. If you can get rid of excess thoughts for just a few minutes, new article and plot ideas may come right out of the blue sky over your head.
2. While you are away from your office, take a camera and shoot some photos, this is one of my favorite ways to forget about my worries, and allow my brain to focus only on what I can see through the lens. If your subject material is also something you write about… that’s a two-fer. Inspiration and photos for your next upload.
3. Call up a friend and chat for a while. Let them know that you are stuck and need some fresh ideas. Frankly, if you’ve worked as hard as most of us do nowadays, it might be a good time to meet friends for dinner or a quick happy hour. Throw it out there that you are at an impasse and just discussing the problem will generate some discussion that may give you just the ideas you need to keep your writing going and fresh.
4. Have a stream of consciousness time. (I like to think of this as brainstorming.) Grab a pad of paper, your laptop or anything else that you use to take notes and just start writing the first words that come to your mind. Set a timer for 5 minutes and just GO! Then after you’ve vomited text all over your previously empty pages, grab a cup of coffee and take a second look at what you’ve done. Group like items on a new sheet of paper or new file. Expand on small concepts and before you know it, you’ll have outlines for your next 5 projects.
5. Take up some new hobbies. When your writing is in a rut, it could be that you are in a rut yourself. Get out more – see a movie, read a new genre of book, take in a play. Whether you are writing about Christmas decorating or industrial manufacturing processes, it’s amazing how new ideas and experience can breathe new life into old tired (for you) topics. Who knew that a scene from a vampire flick could inspire a person to write about lighting a gazebo for special events? It can happen!
6. Look back over your current work and identify gaps and spaces that need to be filled. You may have cut an article short with three ideas left to consider. Perhaps now is the time to write about those last items. It could be that you’ve forgotten about a project you wanted to explore and you just need to remind yourself.
7. Always keep a running list of ideas. You may find that with an ongoing list of ideas and topics, that as you do the things listed above and add to that list – especially with your brainstorming sessions – you may almost never run out of ideas and you may rarely get writer’s block again.
8. Look at all your articles that have top 10 or top 8 lists. There are probably items listed that could become their own topic. Like…. Item number 4 on brainstorming… that sounds like a great idea for an article all on its own.
Don’t let the writer’s fatigue last long enough to steal money right out of your pocket. Take advantage of one or all of these tips to get your creative muscles flexing again and you’ll be surprised at how refreshed and creative you feel. Good luck and happy writing!