10 Ways to Beat Writer’s Block

Stuck for Words


Have your fingers frozen over the keyboard waiting for your brain to warm them up with the right words?

Do you have stage fright at the thought of thousands of people getting lost in your muddled sentences and meandering paragraphs?

Writer’s block is a common symptom that afflicts every writer at some stage. There’s a range of reasons why it can occur: anxiety, low moods, tiredness and just a complete lack of confidence can all grind the creative process to a halt.

The symptom isn’t terminal, however, and there are plenty of ways to counter it’s dehibilitating affects:

  1. Have you worked out a structure for your writing? If not, brainstorm every section to find new ideas to generate new paragraphs.
  2. Set yourself a schedule and reserve your most productive period to writing. Emails, phone calls and checking Facebook can wait.
  3. Remove distractions: shut your door, close down your email and do your best not to wander onto the internet.
  4. Use a timer and force yourself to sit at your desk for that period, and then reward yourself with a short break at the end.
  5. Just write anything and worry about perfection later on. Blank screens can seem daunting, fill it with words and you’ll feel like you’re making progress. Even if what you write isn’t up to scratch you can revise and edit as much as you like later on.
  6. Go for a walk, relax and listen to some music to charge up those alpha waves.
  7. Try mental exercises such as simply writing impulsively whatever comes into your head. This will help you relax when typing and not wringing your hands over every word.
  8. Work somewhere new, where you wont easily be distracted, to break out of your familiarity zone and spark new ideas.
  9. Talk to someone about the subject, or try imagining having a conversation about it. This can help create new ideas and give you a sense of how to structure your writing.
  10. Realize that writer’s block isn’t a medical condition, and can be treated by following points 1-9.

If you catch writer’s block then don’t panic, and just accept it as part of the ebb and flow of the creative process. You can’t expect to nail it in every sitting.

Painters will go over areas of their greatest masterpieces repeatedly until they’re satisfied. Writers enjoy the same luxury. A blank screen is merely your canvas and you’re free to sharpen, mould and enhance to your heart’s content.

Just sit down and start splashing words onto the screen and eventually your creative genius should kick in and do the rest.

8 Comments. Leave new

One method I have used for idea generation is to use the yellow pages. I learned this from a friend of mine who was a freelance buyer and seller. Mostly he drove around in a pickup truck looking for stuff he could pick up, haul away and sell somewhere else.

I generally don’t get ideas directly from the yellow pages themselves, rather by association, suggestion, hooks.

Another tool I use is my tape recorder. I used to carry it for keeping track of business expenses and milage. Then one day I had an idea for a new circuit and picked up the recorder and described the idea.
Eventually my use of the recorder for preserving ideas became the predominant use of it, and I felt the recorder ‘pulling’ ideas from me like a magnet. Just seeing it would set off a chain reaction of associations, hooks, etc etc etc.

Another device I have found that often works is to write down first thing in the morning that which I want to happen today, and then quickly tear the note up and dispose of it and put it out of my mind.

In the distant past I used to visit libraries. I would walk around in the stacks until something caught my eye, not necessarily in the field of my problem, and take a look at that and move on. Somethime this activity was productive.
Today I use Google instead of the yellow pages and the library. Before starting to work with Google, I remind myself that anything I need is there, all I have to do is to find it.
My searches have resulted in a consistent discovery of useful information for myself and my clients, from whom I have received numerous thanks for providing them with the free service.

[…] Just write anything and worry about perfection later on. – Matt Ambrose on 10 Ways to Beat Writer’s Block […]

Thanks A. E. Neumann for your comment and sharing how you can gain inspiration from your surroundings wherever you are. There seems to be a meme building in the blogosphere along the lines of creativity and inspiration. You might be interested in this series of posts:

http://successfromthenest.com/content/building-success-with-creative-adaptation/

which I was pointed to by Copyblogger:

http://www.copyblogger.com/how-to-write-remarkably-creative-content/

Matt.

[…] minds think alike: the guys at the Copywriter’s Crucible have this to […]

That pingback arose from the fact that I came across a chap who seems to have written an article identical to yours, word for word, on the very same subject.

Isn’t that an extraordinary coincidence?

[…] I believe in rhythms. I think our bodies and minds are preconditioned to do some things way better at certain times of the day or night and we should really take note of this and acknowledge it. Once this rhythm is set, try to keep up with the schedule. Before you know it, everything just flows freely and you ultimately break copywriter’s block. […]

[…] I believe in rhythms. I think our bodies and minds are preconditioned to do some things way better at certain times of the day or night and we should really take note of this and acknowledge it. Once this rhythm is set, try to keep up with the schedule. Before you know it, everything just flows freely and you ultimately break copywriter’s block. […]

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