You sit at your computer with your head clasped in your hands and stare at the empty screen. Burrows of frustration deepen across your brow as the words refuse to surface. If an idea does bubble up to find its way onto the page, you wince and delete it with haste. Whatever you’re struggling to write, here are some ideas on how to get the prose flowing.
Just Start Writing
Forget the subject you want to write about for a moment and start typing. It doesn’t matter what ends up on the page, just write. Write about the pot plant beside your desk, the chair you’re sitting on, or the cup of tea you just had. The pure process of forcing yourself to write can be enough to put you in the right frame of mind to focus on the job in hand. The quality of the writing in this exercise is irrelevant so write without stopping to read over it until you feel the block breaking up. Once you’re spent, delete what you’ve been pouring out (or save it in an ideas folder – there might be something useful there) and turn your attention to your project. This could be all you need to overcome writer’s block.
Empty Your Mind
Your writer’s block could down to having too many thoughts swimming around up in the gray matter. If your mind is racing it may help to write down all those things that are running through your mind and preventing you from focusing. The little issues that kept you awake last night, the frustration with the commute to work, or how you’d rather be out enjoying the sunshine. Write down anything that’s on your mind and keep writing until all those stray thoughts are down on the page. This process can help to cleanse your mind, get you focused, and break through your writer’s block.
Go for a Walk
Fresh air and exercise can be a great stimulant for creativity and overcoming writer’s block. If you’re stuck for an idea, go for a walk around the city. The average busy city centre will bombard the open minded writer from every angle with stimulating material so a notebook and pen can be useful. If you’ve already got the idea but are struggling with how to form it, hit a park (or the beach if you’re lucky enough to live near the ocean) as nature can be very inspirational.
While the process of writing is a solitary pursuit, the process of coming up with ideas can benefit from interaction with others. If you work from home this may be tricky but that’s no reason to struggle on alone with your writing block. Seek out someone like-minded that you can call upon to sound your ideas out on. Failing that, look at joining a writing support group. Do a bit of research of groups you could join in your part of town or join an online group if you can’t find one.
Go People Watching
If the piece you’re struggling with is character based, hit the streets with a notebook and do some people watching. Sit in a cafe and watch the foot traffic outside, park yourself in the sun and watch the peculiar habits of the people around you, and eavesdrop on conversations on public transport. Your best source of inspiration for writing about people is to immerse yourself in daily life, so get out there and see what the world is up to.
Give Yourself a Deadline
There’s nothing like the pressure of a deadline to force words onto a page. In a work environment this is enforced for you but if you’re simply writing for pleasure at home, you’re going to have to get tough with yourself. Don’t keep putting your writing off because you’re not feeling inspired as there’s a good chance you’ll never get round to finishing it. Get proactive and give yourself a serious deadline. Write it down, post it where you’ll see it every day, and stick to it. It can be stressful, but a serious deadline canwork wonders for writer’s block.
Write Something Else
If you’ve tried all of the above and the piece you’re trying to write is still giving you grief, walk away from it and start another project. The freshness of the new job combined with the break from the problem piece could be enough to fire up your imagination and break down your writer’s block. Happy writing.