Writer’s block is a normal issue that is bound to affect your writing process occasionally. There are days when I used to stare at my laptop for hours wondering how to start an article or continue a story. At first, I thought it was procrastination but later I realized that it was a normal problem many people face. Writer’s block is the overwhelming feeling of being stuck in the writing process with no way to move forward or write anything new. The major cause of writer’s block is self-doubt which stems from other issues like anger, anxiety and comparison of work.
Here are a few steps you can take to help you stir up ideas and make your writing process easier. It is important to note that overcoming writer’s block is a delicate process which requires patience.
1. Enhance your Workspace
Whether you prefer working in the home office or your living room, enhancing your space can help you to get some inspiration. You can enhance your space by decluttering or putting out a fresh bouquet of flowers or a photo that inspires you. Once you have enhanced your space consider the time of day that you usually feel more productive. If you are a night owl like me then try writing at night, the same goes for if you are a morning person.
2. Use the Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro technique was developed in the late 1980s by Francesco Cirillo. He found himself struggling with his studies and completing assignments. This pushed him to commit 10 minutes to focus on his studies to see if he could get any work done. He found a tomato (pomodoro in Italian) shaped kitchen timer which he used to time himself.
Today the Pomodoro technique is considered an effective way to deal with writer’s block. The technique involves five simple steps.
- Create a to-do list and a timer. You can also choose to use your phone.
- Set up your timer for 25 or 30 minutes and focus on a single task until the timer rings.
- When the session ends take a 5-minute break then set the timer again. Repeat this process 3-4 times.
- After 4 rounds take a longer break of about 15-30 minutes.
Sometimes the best inspiration comes from reading other people’s work. Learning their style of writing can help you to develop new ideas. Even if you are not much of a reader, pick up a book you find interesting and take time to read at least a chapter. You can do this 10 minutes before writing or an hour before. This will put you in the right mindset and in the long run help you with your writer’s block.
4. Jump Ahead
Try writing small pieces of your story, article or project without piecing them together. Remember as you do this that the important thing is to keep on writing. To make your work easier avoid areas of difficulty and focus on the easy parts. The good thing about writing is you can always correct the draft while editing, this helps you to effectively get stuff down.
5. Engage in Different Tasks
When taking a break, you can do a task or tasks like cleaning, gardening or showering to clear your mind. Mundane tasks have a way of giving the creative side of your brain time to come up with ideas.
6. Go for A Walk
When you find yourself unable to start a project or you are stuck in the middle then go for a short walk. This will help you to jumpstart your thought process as well as guide you towards generating creative ideas.
7. Write Freely
Every time I write an article or story, I usually find myself re-reading every paragraph once I am done to sort out mistakes. However, writing without second-guessing any grammatical or spelling errors can help to push through the block.
8. Get Rid of Distractions
Technology is usually the biggest distraction in our daily lives. Once you have set time to write, ensure you turn off your phone or tablet. You can also choose to put them on aeroplane mode. It is also essential to let the people around you know that you need time to focus. Temperature and noise are also distractions that can make writing harder. If you struggle to focus in silence, then you can try listening to classical music or white noise.
9. Make your Process Visual
If you are having a hard time starting or continuing your project, you can use diagrams to guide your process. You can also map out your work using sticky notes or pen and paper. Visualizing can help you see the flow of your work and what you might be missing.
10. Make Writing a Habit
“Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is a result of good work habits.” – Twyla Tharp
Sometimes waiting for inspiration can end up making you struggle more with writer’s block. Forming a habit is the best way to practice consistency. Schedule time each day or week to write and ensure that you write even if you do not feel inspired. Remember the best way to deal with writer’s block is to push through it.
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