How to Shatter Writer’s Block: 10 Tips That Work
29
OCTOBER, 2017
Samuel Osho
Staring at a blank page all day can be very devastating. You have no clue about where to start your article. It’s a painful ordeal; a condition that imprisons the mind from grasping the right words. Writer’s block – it’s the rigid partition that stands between a blank page and a completed work. Every writer at one time or the other will face writer’s block. It’s a feeling of getting stuck and lacking the energy to perfectly express your thoughts.
Looking at the long list of celebrated writers, from Socrates to Ernest Hemingway to Stephen King, almost every great writer engages in a vicious battle with writer’s block. Apparently, you are not alone but only the resilient and determined minds win. If award-winning writers have won the battle, you too can shatter your writer’s block.

First of all, I want to make some clarifications. Often, what you call a writer’s block is merely an outward manifestation of two popular demons. And they are as follows:

  • Procrastination:
When you keep putting off what you should do and validate every decision of delay with an excuse, it’s called procrastination and not a writer’s block. Deadlines are usually the wrong sources to look for an inspiration. Inching closer to a deadline before writing can make you prone to a myriad of mistakes. However, there are situations when your mind needs to undergo an incubation period before the writing ideas are fully formed. More like, I am allowing the turkey to marinate in the spices.
  • Perfectionism:
To be honest, on several occasions, your problem is not writer’s block but an obsession for perfection. You are just dissatisfied with the quality of your work because you want a version close to perfection. Perfectionism is a dangerous path to follow as a writer. Attempting to be perfect in your first draft can be counterproductive.

 

So, what is a writer’s block? It is that moment when you feel a clog blocking your creativity tap; a fog shielding you from the rays of inspiration. For others, it’s a period of separation from the proverbial “muse.”
Now to the meat of the day, let’s explore several ways of shattering writer’s block. These are some methods that have worked for me in the past and are still yielding results. Anyways, it’s not a formula but I invite you to also try out some of these methods.

 

The Top 10 Tips That Work

1. Take a walk

Yes, go for a walk! Hit the road and enjoy the warmth of nature. Deliberately observe the things around you: the swaying trees, the flying birds, the whistling of the winds and the sounds that make nature beautiful. In the midst of this new adventure, you can find an inspiration, a spark and probably a ceaseless flow of ideas for your next piece.

2. Have a shower

I know this sounds crazy but it works for me. Stay in the bathtub and just see if you can realign the ideas and thoughts of your writing. Taking a shower can calm your nerves and serve as a source of rejuvenation. Get out of the bathroom and grab your pen.

3. Listen to your favorite music

Good music is therapeutic – a good medicine for the soul. Having my ears locked with the sounds of my favorite songs usually gets me into a spontaneous mood – a room where many creative things are possible. For me, gospel songs and classical music have magical effects on my brain.

4. Talk out loud to yourself

When writing on a specific subject, once there is a detour from the main point, you tend to delete but this is impossible when you are talking. Speaking to yourself has a way of tunneling deep into your mind to excavate everything you need for your writing. I do this a lot; I speak to myself in front of a mirror and in the midst of my speech I find the flaming torch. When talking out loud, I suggest you record your speech because you may want to listen to it later.

5. Eliminate all distractions

It could be very hard to accomplish a goal when you are wearied down by a host of distractions. Social media and the Internet can be very distracting when you intend to write. If you want to write, then focus on writing. Apps like Cold Turkey and Freedom can assist you in killing your social media distractions.

“There’s no such thing as writer’s block. That was invented by people in California who couldn’t write.” – Terry Pratchett

6. Free Writing

Forget about the rules, just write. Write whatever comes to your mind. Don’t judge yourself. Look beyond the mistakes and errors; flow with the tide of your spontaneous thoughts and enjoy the cruise.

7. Browse through your photo album

This sounds insane but it usually works for me. I take a walk through my photo album on Google Photos and try reliving some of those memories. It’s a lovely journey – it brings smiles and makes you appreciative. While going through the album, several thoughts will queue up and you may just find one that will inspire your pen.

 

8. Read inspiring quotes

The world is a home to a bunch of inspiring people. When you deliberately go on a search to seek insight and inspiration, you can take solace in the library of quotes from your role models, mentors, and motivators. These are some helpful resources – Brainy Quote and Goodreads.

9. Visit a new place

Go for sightseeing. Visit new places that interest you and endeavor to relish in the fun every moment brings to you. Go to the museum, historical sites, galleries and much more. You may just find the muse while taking a snapshot.

10. Change the writing environment

This works for me like magic. I recently found writing in airport lounges very interesting. You can change where you write. Try writing in the following places: a coffee shop, a restaurant, a library, a bus station, and a park.
Furthermore, there is a wide variety of apps that can assist in shattering writer’s block. Some of the best in the market include:
Story Plot Generator (free, available for Android)
Writing Prompts (free, available for Android)
Prompts ($2.99, available for iOS)
Rory’s Story Cubes App ($1.99, available for iOS and Android)
Verses ($1.99, available for iOS)
Instant Poetry (free, available for iOS)

 

In conclusion, the hard truth is that writer’s block is often a self-inflicted disease. It can be cured when you decide to write. Yes, just write until it makes sense to you.
It is your turn to share with me. I am curious! How do you overcome writer’s block?

Also published on Medium.

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