Writer’s block can turn a simple project into a mighty struggle for any writer. Words that came so easily before suddenly abandon you, leaving you staring sadly or angrily at a blank page as the clock ticks. Sure, you know you’re not alone, but where will all the stumped scribes be when it comes time to face your boss after you miss your deadline?
Have no fear. While often unbearable, writer’s block is not unbeatable. Use one or more of these strategies to get your creative process back on track.
Take a break. Yes, it feels counterintuitive, but walking away from the work you desperately need to complete can relieve the pressure you’re feeling and help you get into a creative groove. During your break, talk or think about anything other than your project.
Get some exercise. Sometimes it takes more than just walking away to get you out of your slump. Running, cycling, swimming… anything that increases your heart rate and triggers “feel good” endorphins will make a difference. And even if it doesn’t eliminate your writer’s block, it’ll eliminate some calories.
Talk it out. Many experienced writers find that talking about a topic brings up different mental associations than simply thinking about it. State the facts. Ask yourself questions. Answer those questions. Whatever it takes. And, yes, you may want to use this strategy when you have some privacy.
Switch your scene. Lost your groove while at your computer – try an old school approach of pen and paper. Sometimes that tactile change can have a big impact. Want to get really crazy? Try spending a few minutes writing with your non-dominant hand to really shake things up.
Eat, drink and be creative. Have a healthy snack, drink a glass of water, wait about 20 minutes and then return to your task. Hunger and dehydration have a way of putting a damper on creativity. This is especially true for those who do their writing late in the workday.
Alter your writing routine. Do you typically write in the afternoon, at the office, at your desk? Try writing in the early morning, at home, at your kitchen table. New sights, sounds and other stimuli can help get your creative juices flowing.
Go stream-of-consciousness. Turn off your internal editor and let the words flow. Jot down anything and everything that comes to mind about your project – in any order or in any form. Sentences, phrases, fragments, words. Don’t worry at all about spelling, grammar or punctuation. Seeing all your mental “raw materials” in front of you can turn your writing task into a more free-flowing puzzle assembly project.