Getting Unstuck: Tips for Combatting Writer’s Block

We all get stuck.

There are many of reasons you may feel a creative block. Most people will struggle with this at some point.

If you’re someone that writes a lot – whether with talks, articles, social media posts, or other content, then it will resurface from time to time.

Here are our tips to help you move through it.

Check in with yourself

Have you eaten? Had water? Did you get enough rest?

You have to take care of yourself for your mind to be clear and productive.

Sometimes that means you should pause and check in with what you might need before getting back to work.

A block can lead to frustration and simply trying to push through isn’t often effective.

Step away, take a deep breath, and ask yourself if there is anything you need in this moment.

Take a walk

You may need to simply walk away from your screen or actually head outside and move your body.

Moving your body and soaking in some vitamin d can help clear your head and relieve stress.

We aren’t talking strenuous exercise (unless you find that helpful). Try a leisurely walk around your neighborhood.

Be present and mindful, pay attention to how you feel physically and mentally, take in your surroundings, smell the flowers and fresh air.

It might be the reset you need.

Ask a friend

“Your own head is lovely but it’s just you in there and you need feedback to grow. You need feedback to develop and make it more robust and interesting. That only happens when you interact with [an] audience.” –Lisa Maria Marquis

Sometimes, you just need to bounce ideas off of another person. You may find that talking about it helps you work through a blockage on your own.

It’s easy to get stuck in your own head.

Invite others into your process to help you make sense of the things that feel overwhelming or nebulous.

Look for inspiration

“You have to put in time to understand what makes writing good. I would read these popular books on writing and I analyzed successful books. I wrote down the strategies that they were using and I went through my chapters and I tried to identify where I could incorporate those strategies.” –Dr. Marisa G. Franco

If you’re drawing a blank or struggling to get your point across, you might just need to look elsewhere.

Try picking up a book you love or listen to a speaker you admire. Pay attention to the parts that grab you.

Can you see a pattern or strategy emerging?

Do their ideas inspire your own?

Set up a routine

“It’s about showing up. For me, that meant picking a time of day literally every single day where I showed up. I have a word count or a time goal. I set a timer for 2 hours but I also tried to hit 1,000 words. Sometimes, I’d hit a 1,000 words in half an hour and go on with my day. Other times, it’s like 2 hours in, I have not hit 1,000 words. I stop because the timer goes off. And I’ll try again tomorrow.” –Abby Covert

Creativity is your starting point. But structure helps your message take form. While it may seem like writing only happens when inspiration strikes, it takes practice.

Set up a schedule for your writing.

Allot yourself a specific amount of time to write.

Create time in your day where you won’t worry about other things you have to take care of, where you can devote your energy to the task at hand.

Remove distractions

Your environment is important when trying to create. Are you in a setting in which you feel relaxed and focused?

Work in a space where you can control the noise level and outside distractions.

Put away your phone. Depending how you best work, turn off other screens and music. Or, put on some background noise that helps you hone in.

Experiment and find out what helps you build focus.

Just write something

If you’re having trouble with a topic or chapter, try moving on.

You don’t have to stick to a chronological order. Maybe your brain will have an easier time with another piece of your project.

Or, start writing about anything and see where that takes you.

Sometimes you just need to break the ice and get writing.

Don’t be your worst critic

Perfectionism is the enemy of progress.

Maybe you’re experiencing writer’s block because you’re being too hard on yourself.

Don’t wait until you have the perfect idea or way to express it because you may end up waiting forever.

Just get your ideas down and streamline as you edit.

A rough draft is meant to be rough. Many writers end up with something completely different than what they start with.

Do what works for you

“For lack of a better metaphor, I found out I needed to cook in a different way. Cooking things in the order of the recipe worked for some stuff, but in other areas, I just needed to throw everything into the instant pot.” Sameera Kapila

These are our tips but everyone is different.

You may find things that work for you might not work for most. That’s totally okay!

Experiment and figure out what helps you create. That might even change day to day.

Give yourself grace and the flexibility to figure it out.

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