The Best Ways to Beat Writer’s Block

By Taylor Rice

Writer’s block is a fear for writers everywhere. It’s the boogeyman hanging out in the deep depths of a writer’s mind, showing its face when it’s least convenient. Let it be known that writer’s block is not just for authors, but students, office workers and everyone in between. 

Writer’s block is an issue everyday people constantly face. These tips and tricks should help ease the burden and get you back to writing. 

  1. Simplify Your Workspace

Make sure the place that you’re writing in is free from distractions. Maybe you’re in your room doing homework, or sitting at a school desk; no matter the environment, make sure it’s clean and organized. 

Try decluttering, and maybe have out pictures of what inspires you. Take into account the time of day you’re most productive; if you’re not an early bird, try writing at night or in the afternoons instead. 

Also take into consideration the surrounding temperature and noise level. If your surroundings are uncomfortable, it’s going to be infinitely harder to get work done. If you’re cold, put on a comfy sweater, and if it’s too quiet put on some white noise or a music playlist. 

  1. Write Anything

If you find yourself having issues with your current work, try writing something else. You could write trash. Something you would not allow anyone else to read; then afterwards you burn it– or eat it. Spitting a bunch of words onto a page can help get you back on the right track to what you’re supposed to actually be writing. 

You could also try free writing. For about 10 to 20 minutes write non-stop. Don’t interrupt yourself by checking spelling, grammar, or editing; just write. The free-write doesn’t need to relate to the piece you’re currently stuck writing. In fact, freewriting without a set topic can help you organize your ideas and get stressful thoughts off your mind. This will leave you in a better headspace to return to your original work. 

  1. Read, Read, Read

Reading can provide inspiration, motivation, or escape, making it a brilliant cure to writer’s block. Reading something that you actually enjoy can help you forget about the troubles and insecurities that could have been holding you back. Reading also allows you to glean inspiration from your favorite writers. Your favorite writer’s formatting could give you an idea for how you should format your work. Reading right before you sit down to write also puts you in the right mindset to write your own words.

  1. Move to another Space

After a while of sitting at your desk and not being able to write anything new, you’ll begin to associate your work space with being stuck. When this happens, oftentimes a change of scenery can help you continue writing. Taking a short break from your work to walk outside and get some fresh air can help you clear your head. Moving outside, to a café, to your couch, to your bed, or even a different spot in your office could also be all you need to get back your flow. 

  1. Work on Something Else

When you’re stuck with your current work, sometimes you just need a break from it. If you’re stuck on a certain section of the piece, go work on another section of the piece. For example, if you can’t formulate a good introduction for an essay, it might be better to work on your body paragraphs and come back to the introduction later. 

Other times, if you really are just stuck with the whole work, get out of your chair and do something else. You could work on the household chores you’d been holding off on for a week. You could also watch a movie, complete a puzzle, eat a meal, or make some artwork. A break is often just what people need in order to get back into the proper mindset for writing. 

  1. Change Writing Tools

Another simple, yet effective way to get rid of writer’s block is to change your writing tool. If you usually type your pieces, switch to a pen or a pencil. If you usually write, try typing. You could change your font, the size of your letters, or even bold and italicize; anything that you think might make writing more interesting. The simple change in writing tool can make you re-engage with your work and help you get rid of writer’s block. 

  1. Exercise

Sitting at a desk for a long time can leave you feeling sleepy and disconnected. This can make you unmotivated to write, or simply unable to think of anything. To counteract this, go for a run, walk, or do a dance; anything that’ll get your blood pumping and heart rate up. Exercise releases endorphins, hormones that boost your mood. The more productive and energetic you feel, the more likely you are to beat writer’s block! 

  1. Make it a Habit

To make writing second nature, try and set up writing as a part of your daily routine. Schedule time to write, and write at that same time every single day. Even if it’s for only 10 to 15 minutes, and you’re not particularly inspired by anything. Just make sure you commit to your set time. This strategy works well when paired with the previously mentioned write anything strategy. 

As you get more practice writing, it will become like a second limb. With writing being second nature, writer’s block will become much less common. 

You could also use the Pomodoro Technique. Set your phone timer for 25 minutes every time you sit to write and just do your work for that chunk of time. Don’t let yourself be interrupted, just do whatever you need to do to sit tight and work on your writing piece. After 25 minutes you can take a well deserved break. 

  1. Face Your Fears

Your fear in starting your writing is valid: you will have errors in your first draft, but that’s why we edit and revise. Don’t be concerned about spelling, grammar, or punctuation; just start writing. Quickly getting to writing the first draft will ensure that you have time to edit it thoroughly. 

All writers fail at some point; it’s a major part of the creative process. However, if you think you’ll fail at a task, you’ll hesitate to start. Just remember that your goal isn’t to write an award winning novel, it’s to write a first draft. 

  1.  Denial

This 10th strategy is one of the most important. Don’t give writer’s block a name. According to the American Psychologists Association, multiple psychologists don’t believe that writer’s block exists. An anonymous author states that they, “Choose not to believe in writer’s block. There’s always something you can write.” Even if you can’t think of anything to add to your current work, you can always write something else. Professor Paul Silvi stated, “naming something gives it power.” Therefore, using this logic, don’t acknowledge writer’s block. Sit down at a desk and prove it wrong. 

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