It’s all too common – that moment when you jot down a word or two and your mind goes completely blank. Writer’s Block couldn’t be more appropriately named. Quite literally the ideas that were once swirling inside your head become so clogged that you can feel the pressure building. This pressure materializes into frustration, anxiety and anger until you feel that there’s nothing left to do but walk away. STOP! Before you tear up your notebook or turn off your computer, first try these 5 essential tips to overcome even the worst case of Writer’s Block.
Focus on writing for YOU – So much stress can come from the perceived pressure that your writing has to be perfect and has to impress an entire audience of critics. Instead, get into the mindset that first and foremost this writing is for you. You’re the storyteller and at the end of the day, if you like what you wrote and enjoyed doing it, it’s a success. You’ll be surprised what this “no-pressure” mindset can do for getting your creative juices flowing again!
Create an “Inspiration Database” – Moments of inspiration and the time you set aside for writing don’t always coincide. Sometimes the best writing inspiration comes at odd hours of the night or when you’re busy working on something else. Don’t lose this inspiration, but don’t let it dictate your schedule too much either. Keep a notebook, word doc or phone app where you can immediately jot down your ideas. When you do find time to write, start by surfing through these notes and recall this inspiration. You may even be inspired in a whole new way on second glance.
Start with a skeleton – The thought of creating an outline for your writing is very elementary, but that’s likely because it’s also very helpful! It’s easy to become frustrated and mentally blocked if you feel like your ideas are all over the place and not really connecting. Write down the main points you want to hit in your writing, organize them for how they make the most sense and then as you write, simply connect the dots!
Think beyond the laptop – Be aware of the cues that trigger your own Writer’s Block. For example, a blinking cursor on a blank word doc can be an overwhelming sight for anyone. Another cue might by an empty notebook that inspires more doodles than it does words. Once you know what your cue is, avoid it! Don’t be afraid to try a different way of writing like starting off with Post-Its or using a big colorful marker on a dry-erase board.
Set small goals…and reward yourself for reaching them – When you know you’re at the beginning of tackling a 5+ page paper, you can cause yourself to mentally shut down before you even write one word. Instead, give yourself small goals, like writing one paragraph or one page, and then define a reward. Maybe you give yourself a 2 minute web surfing break or a quick snack. Not only does this make each smaller task seem more manageable, but you may also be surprised by how inspiration can take over and you want to keep writing long after meeting your mini goal.
So what are you waiting for? Get inspired and get writing!