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Overcoming Writer’s Block Without the B.S.

In Uncategorized on July 11, 2012 at 4:49 pm

Writer’s block.

There are thousands of articles online covering the topic: how to prevent it, how to get over it, and how to understand why it happens. If you’ve ever actually dealt with writer’s block though you know that even reading some of the advice in the typical quick-fix articles can be maddening. I don’t know why it happens any more than I know a reliable way to prevent or fix it. This article however is a personal attempt to disseminate what has worked for me and what I think almost never works for anyone.

In my experience, the first key to dealing with writer’s block is not to stress about it. There is no reason to dig too deeply into the root causes of your writer’s block. It will also benefit no one to become anxious about not being able to write. The only problem here is the fact that, when you can’t write, that’s all you can think about. And if you write for a living you are running the risk of damaging your career. What’s more stressful than that?

It’s definitely a catch-22: trying not to stress about not stressing about your writer’s block. But here are a few things I have done that have actually worked for me:

Do something totally new.

Preferably this should be something that has nothing to do with you or your work. Step out of your comfort zone, and do something fun. Once I went bungee jumping during a period of especially low creativity. It was something I had thought I would never do. But it definitely startled me back to life.

Ask someone for advice.

As obvious as this sounds, it can often be the last thing writers seek out. Writing can be such a solitary activity, and when you’re suffering from a block sometimes you feel like you need to get through it alone. Instead, just tell another writer or editor what’s going on and see if they can help you think of different angles or ideas. Even something as simple as that can actually help.

Read.

This is one of the best ways to get creative juices flowing again. Sit down, and make yourself read something. Whatever you’re attracted to is a good place to start whether it’s a novel, newspaper or magazine.

Have un-productive rest.

Don’t use downtime as a constant opportunity for brainstorming. You may be suffering from writer’s block, but you still deserve some time off. Go see a friend and chat about nothing. 

Just start writing.

Especially if you write for work, it can really help to stop thinking. You may be surprised by how much writing you can fit onto a page when you just start doing it. And you will be even more surprised by how well you can write, even on autopilot. Stop caring about how it will all go together, and just write. You can piece together the good and the bad later.

There are also some things that have never worked for me and I doubt will work well for anyone else:

Lying to yourself about your own deadline

If you are a procrastinator and sometimes like to pretend that your deadline is earlier than it actually is so you finish in a timely manner, stop fooling yourself. You know that you know your real deadline, and you will only start writing as soon as you absolutely have to until you work to actually change the habit of procrastination.

Beating yourself down

Don’t let writers’ block spiral you into a depression. Even if you can’t figure out a way to get past it, it doesn’t mean you should think of yourself negatively.

 

Angelita Williams writes about a variety of topics pertaining to education. Angelita has a particular interest in online education, as she covers many stories on online courses and the distance learning lifestyle. Her email is angelita.williams7@gmail.com.

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