You’re sitting in front of your PC trying to write, and your brain will not engage. You’ve got a case of writer’s block. Now what? How do you get past this barrier? Following are some ideas.
- Use a Different Writing Tool—Use a different writing app. Change font type, color, or size. Try pencil and paper. Doodle. Create a flow diagram.
- Visit a family member or a friend—But don’t drive. Take a bus or a train. The idea is to write while you’re getting there. You can use a laptop or tablet, but try making notes on your cell phone, or in a note pad.
- Get a beverage—If you’re a coffee drinker, take a coffee break. Or take tea and see. Or go for a cold carbonated drink. But don’t drink while writing. Give yourself some space.
- Stop writing linearly—It’s certainly important to create and follow an outline. But that can get you stuck. If that happens, jump to a different part of your writing, something you have a lot to say about, and start writing there. When you’re re-energized, you can go back to where you got blocked. Who knows, you may even decide to change that part or not write it at all.
- Do something out of your routine—Watch a program on TV that you normally wouldn’t. Go to any movie, one outside your normal taste. Do a household chore: vacuum, wash dishes, do laundry, maybe even take a shower (where many people get ideas). The idea is to do something physical while your mind works in the background.
- Change your writing time—Writing for a certain amount of time at a certain time of day is a good writing habit—until you get stuck. It’s then time to break the habit. Write at a different time of day and for a different length of time.
- Change your writing place—This is the same idea as #6. Get away from your desk (or wherever it is that you write). Go to a coffee shop, a library, a bookstore, or a park. A change of location and ambience often helps to get unblocked.
- Do a household thing—Vacuum, wash dishes, do laundry, maybe even take a shower (where many people get ideas). The idea is to do something physical while your mind works in the background.
- Just walk—Walk around the block or just walk around your living space. Or simply walk around in circles. The idea is to get up and away from your writing and do something physical.
- Avoid perfection—One sure way to end up with writer’s block is to start worrying about every word and comma. So, save the editing for later. For now, just focus on getting your ideas out of your head.
- Spend some time on the internet or social media—You may normally consider this a waste of precious time. However, when you get stuck, browsing a lot of different material can give you some ideas. At the least, it diverts your mind. But limit your “excursion” so you don’t use this as an excuse for not writing.
- Don’t wait until you hit the wall—If writer’s block happens too often for you, change your routine. Instead of writing full bore for your normal session, plan some 5-minute breaks in there. Do anything that doesn’t relate to writing or what you’re writing about. That way, each time you re-start, you’re starting fresh.
Writing can be hard work. And writer’s block can make it harder. When you get stuck, you can choose to curse, or you can try some of the above ideas. Find out what works for you. Come up with your own ideas. Ad lib. And have fun.
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