A writer is someone who writes. Their words have meaning and their work is something they can be proud of. So what happens when the words that once came easily don’t come so easily anymore? Or when that blank page is still infuriatingly blank day after day after day? What becomes of a writer then?
That, my friend, is a classic case of writer’s block and it has happened to even the best of writers. Luckily, writer’s block is a temporary state that can often be cured with a dose of self-love and a bit of experimentation.
When you find yourself struggling to find the right words, here are a few cures for writer’s block that I encourage you to try.
Use Writing Prompts
A writing prompt is a suggested topic for a writer to write about. Examples include: “Write about your grandmother.” “Write about a road trip.” “He didn’t know it at the time, but…” “The beach.” “Blue eyes.”
When you get stuck and have trouble making progress on your writing, take a sidebar and try out some writing prompts. They keep you in the habit of writing and can even spark some new ideas. After spending some time jotting down words inspired by a writing prompt, you may find it easier to return to the piece of writing you were working on before.
Experience New Things
Do you find yourself doing the same thing day in and day out and now your writing is in a rut? It may be time to jumpstart your creativity by gathering some new experiences. Try eating at a new restaurant, reading a new book, joining a new club or group, visiting a new city or taking up a new hobby. Do something fun that challenges your everyday mind. It may just wake up your creativity again.
Go Easier on Yourself
While strict deadlines and expectations can spur some writers on, that’s not always the case, and even if it’s worked in the past, it may not work every time. Have you been putting too much pressure on yourself lately? Maybe instead of helping you that pressure is actually doing the opposite and stifling your creative capacity. Try to relax your expectations and truly let yourself catch a breath. Take a break. When you feel calmer, your capacity to write will likely resume.
Get an Outside Perspective
Sitting down to write is a good way to think and express your own thoughts, but if you’re feeling stuck in an echo chamber instead, it may be time to get an outside perspective on your writing. Do you have a writing buddy, an editor or a good friend you could talk to about your writing? Are you part of a writing group, either online or in your community? Try discussing your work or the topics you’d like to write about with a sympathetic ear and see what they say. Their fresh perspective may surprise you for the better.
Start Outlining Your Work
There are as many writing methods as there are writers, but typically, as long as you’re writing, it doesn’t much matter how it gets done. Some writers religiously outline their work before they do anything else, while other writers let their writing develop naturally on the page.
If you haven’t used outlines before, a temporary case of writer’s block may be just the occasion to get better acquainted. An outline reduces the pressure of having to attend to both plot and style at once. By creating an outline, you’re drawing yourself a map and deciding where you want to go. After that, you can just concentrate on enjoying the journey.
Give Yourself Time to Cope
Writing can be healing for many people, particularly the act of journaling, but it isn’t always and it shouldn’t be forced. If you’ve suffered a setback, loss or some type of adverse circumstance and you find yourself struggling to return to your writing, then the time may just not be right. Give yourself permission to take some time and space away from your writing and tend to yourself first. You can always return to your writing when you’re ready to.
Change Up Your Writing Routine
In a previous article, I talked about discovering and establishing writing routines and how important they can be for encouraging your creativity on a regular basis. But if your writing is hitting the brakes instead, it may be time to shake up your writing routine or create a whole new one that is more attuned to who you are now.
If you’ve managed to get writer’s block, that means you have a history of writing. But have you sufficiently rewarded yourself for all your hard work? All those great ideas and well-used words? If you’re anything like me, chances are that you haven’t rewarded yourself enough.
Treat yourself and do some things that you enjoy. Get a massage, spend some time with your friends, have a piece of cake, read a new book – whatever it is that makes you feel good. Just take a few moments to reward yourself for past efforts. It will pave the way for your future successes!
It’s Time for You to Write
Now that you’ve read some of my suggestions for pushing past writer’s block, are you ready to get back to writing and expressing your thoughts? Start by sharing with me in the comments: What are you going to do to overcome your own temporary case of writer’s block? Also, check out our newest programs Writer’s Sprint and Memoir Writing Made Easy.