Anyone that has tried to do any kind of creative writing will have at some point or another experienced writer’s block. It’s infuriating and if you’re trying to meet a deadline, incredibly stressful. So here are my ten tips for beating writers block and getting your pen back on paper.
1. Read what you’ve already written
The first thing I do when trying to beat my writer’s block is read out loud what I’ve already written. If I’m writing an article then I read over that and the same with a novel chapter. I find it helps to get the words flowing again and reminds you of topics earlier in your piece that you may not have remembered beforehand.
Reading always makes me want to write. It gives you a chance to remember why you’re writing and what you love about it. It sparks your imagination and before you know it your mind has slipped back to your own piece and you’re back on track.
3. Locking yourself away
Removing all distractions is probably one of the best ways to get yourself writing. When I have things on around me I find myself glancing at the television or just picking up that phone call. The worst distraction is the internet. It’s far too easy to be typing and suddenly wonder what is happening on Facebook. So you need to lock yourself away from the world. Be in a place that has no internet, televisions and mobile phones and instead immerse yourself in your writing. This is difficult when you have responsibilities so it’s important to make time just for yourself.
4. Fixing some ‘writing time’
I find that I write best first thing in the morning. As soon as I wake up I feel motivated and productive but past eleven I am sluggish and anything I write deserves to go straight to the shredder. So find a time that suits you and that you feel you work best during. This could be over lunch, first thing in the morning or just before bed it’s entirely up to you!
5. Being comfortable
I find writing impossible when I’m uncomfortable. Right now I’m sat on my sofa and very aware that my hip hurts from how I’ve been sitting. I love having a desk that’s completely organised and clean, mess distracts me and I always have to clean up before I start. The best thing to do is find a spot that you can designate your writing spot and make it your own with your own writing equipment and inspirational post-it notes.
6. Writing something unrelated
When all else fails writing something completely unrelated can help in getting the ball rolling. I use a stream of thought exercise where I sit and just write. I don’t think about punctuation or spelling, it doesn’t need to make sense, you just write whatever comes to your mind no matter if it’s about a girl named Polly or about the sausage you had for breakfast. Googling ‘writing exercises’ can show you some fun things to do that really get the brainwaves flowing.
7. Making a bullet point plan
I like making lists. I have lists for absolutely everything and my writing projects are no different! It’s important to not put down too much detail because that can possibly kill an idea but half of a sentence you like the sound of or a bullet point for what comes next can help spark your enthusiasm and you’ll be back writing again just to get to the next part.
8. Changing your environment
Most of my writing is done on my sofa with my laptop but if ever I feel stuck I find that a change really helps. Going down to the local coffee shop with a laptop or notebook is a great way to get inspiration. It gives you a chance to watch people in their day to day lives, observe their interactions and top up on the caffeine levels.
9. Go for a walk
For me going outside is a great way to clear your mind and gives you a chance to refocus. I live on the coast and a slow stroll along the cliff top and then down onto the sand helps to settle the frustrated nerves. After the stress of staring at a blank page for hours standing in a place of calm surrounded by nature helps to make me smile again and ready me for another round with the curser.
There are my ten tips for getting past writer’s block but the important thing is not to let it beat you! Once writer’s block has got the better of you it’s incredibly hard to start writing again, but with some perseverance you’ll be back on target in no time!