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“You can always edit a bad page, you can’t edit a blank page.” ~Jodi Picoult
Writer’s block is the mental fog that envelops the creativity of a person endeavoring to write their thoughts down for others to read. This mental fog causes a writer to be unable to continue writing as they wait for inspiration to continue writing. Were you sitting there staring at a blank screen waiting for inspiration to continue writing, or even to come up with a good opening line to start your book or article?
You were, weren’t you? You were wondering why you are experiencing writer’s block, and wondering what you could do to get the words flowing again.
Writer’s block is the bane of many authors and content creators. That is why we have created this treatise on how to overcome writer’s block.
Get unblocked with our 27 tips to keep your creativity flowing.
1) Create your writing environment Make your writing environment a place just for writing. Having an area set up just for writing creates a habitual mindset within you to write while you are there and nothing else. This could be a desk or even a small table.
If you have a room set up as a work area in your home that you can close the door to and have some quiet time, it will create a great atmosphere for getting your writing done.
2) Remove all of your distractions The internet is a great place to research and learn about the topics you are writing about. It is also a place full of distractions. Facebook, YouTube, your favorite game that you have the burning desire to play, insert your favorite app here, they all seem more important to you than writing.
If we associate pain with not getting our writing finished, and pleasure with sharing our writing voice with our readers, we will move away from writer’s block, and create works of literary art that will change the emotional state of our readers, and sometimes even their beliefs as well.
How many of your distractions will put a roof over your head, and food on your table? Which is more important to you now?
3) Make yourself accountable Make yourself accountable for getting your writing completed, and just do it. Set your own deadlines, and make achieving them a priority.
Writer’s block is the mental fog that envelops the creativity of a person endeavoring to write their thoughts down for others to read. This mental fog causes a writer to be unable to continue writing as they wait for inspiration to continue writing.
Were you sitting there staring at a blank screen waiting for inspiration to continue writing, or even to come up with a good opening line to start your book or article?
5) Take a cold shower Nothing will awaken your mind and body like a cold shower. Not even coffee can invigorate your senses like a cold shower can. Warm or hot showers are relaxing, but cold showers always slap us across the face and say, “Wake up you lazy bum.”
Step into the shower and think about accomplishing your goals. Let the cold water wake you up and get your creative juices flowing.
6) Read Quotes about writing Reading quotes by famous authors will serve as inspiration to you to move beyond your limitations, and strive to do your best.
Published authors have been through what you are going through, and have helpful advice to share with you through their quotes of wisdom.
(Check out our 65 Quotes about Writing)
10) Free Writing Try free writing. Just start putting words on paper. Start writing down your thoughts, and let your random ideas flow through you.
11) Create an outline Outline your story to help give your writing direction. Even if you are a pantser writer having some idea of where your story is going will help guide your writing voice.
12) Write when your brain is most active Some people are morning people and are up at the crack of dawn ready to start their day going full speed ahead. While others, myself included are at our best at night, or early morning.
I have found that my mind is most active after 10 p.m. or 22:00 if you prefer the 24 hour clock. My nighttime mental activity tends to dissipate between 2a.m. and 4 a.m. This was problematic since during my working years I got up for work at 5 a.m. seven days a week more often than not.
I now live on the opposite side of the earth from where I started, and the 12 hours’ time difference in geographical location has not changed the time frame of my active mental symphony.
I still have the greatest mental activity late at night and early in the morning.
If you write when your mind is most active, than writers block will be elusive during your writing conquest.
13) Start on a different chapter Start writing a new chapter then come back to the one you were working on. Writing a new chapter with a new set of events unfolding will spark your creativity. There may be something that you write in your next chapter that will require a prelude in the chapter you were working on.
With your new ideas for the direction of your story fresh in your mind, go back to the section of your writing you were stuck on and writer’s block will no longer stop your flow of writing.
14) Change your point of view for a moment If you are writing in the first person change your thoughts to third person to get the creative juices flowing.
15) Don't try to make the first draft perfect Don’t worry about writing the perfect words right away just get words written down and edit later.
There are many great authors who have said they focus on writing their stories down, and they self-edit later.
Nobody is going to read your first draft, and if you try to focus on making it perfect the first time you write it down you will end up spending hours writing a few paragraphs.
The most important thing is to get your ideas and your story written down so you have something to work with later.
After you write a score of pages then you can go back and fine-tune your work to make the magic happen.
Your worries about making your work perfect the first time will lead to procrastination, and your procrastination will cause writer's block to overwhelm you. To error is human to edit is divine.
16) Stop Procrastinating Procrastinate comes from the Latin word “cras” which means tomorrow. Procrastinators want to postpone their important tasks until tomorrow, but eventually tomorrow becomes today.
17) Take control over your monkey mind Our monkey minds are always leading us away from the task we need to accomplish. Like a monkey swinging through the jungle grabbing one branch and then releasing it before swinging away to grab another, so too are the thoughts in our minds.
We find it difficult to focus on one thought for too long before our minds drift away to another thought. All-day long while we are awake, and even asleep and dreaming our minds are jumping from one random thought to another.
We rethink past events often with regret and worry about a future that hasn’t happened yet. This monkey mind activity will distract us from our writing and cause writer’s block.
18) Take a break “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” is a proverb. It means that without time off from work, a person becomes both bored and boring. The exact origins of the phrase remain unclear, though it was recorded as early as 1659. – Wikipedia
We all need a break from our work, and a chance to walk away from it to have a cold drink, or a hot coffee to take our minds off of things for a moment.
That brief moment is all we need to reset our bodies and minds, and realine ourselves with our writing task.
19) Take a power nap Most sleep experts agree that if you want to have a quick jolt of alertness and vigor and decrease fatigue, take a 10- to 20-minute nap. (According to Science of People)
Enjoying a quick power nap can be just what you need to revitalize your creativity. Be careful taking a nap longer than that because if you enter REM sleep during your nap you will experience sleep inertia upon waking.
Sleep inertia will cause profound grogginess and confusion for a while which is the opposite of what you are trying to achieve.
If you are able to awaken to full consciousness just as you are about to fall asleep you will find yourself in the hypnagogic state. During this state your mind is at its most creative peak, and your creativity will be at its full potential.
21) Meditate Practice meditation to help relax your body and direct your wondering thoughts. With a relaxed body and a focused mind your writing will flow more smoothly.
22) Listen to music Music will soothe a savage beast. It will also relax you and help you to focus your thoughts, especially if the music is only instrumental.
Having some background noise can create a more productive atmosphere for getting work done than having dead silence.
23) Go for a walk Going for a walk in the fresh air will help clear your mind. Getting some exercise will get your blood flowing, and if you are walking in a park exposed to nature it is even better. Look around you as you walk and be in the present moment.
Let go of your thoughts about past mistakes and future worries, and just be aware of what is happening right now.
Think about the writing project you are working on. Let it seep into your mind while you are breathing the fresh air, and watching nature do its thing in perfect harmony. Soon you will find your thoughts and ideas in harmony with your writing goals.
Reach for your mobile phone and type or record your thoughts into it so they don’t disappear from your mind like trying to remember a dream from the night before.
Return to your writing area, and get your story written.
24) Remove yourself from the situation Spend a brief moment thinking about something else with your conscious mind while your subconscious mind figures out new ideas to create your story.
This could be as simple as going for a walk, talking to a friend, or watching a movie.
Sometimes it is good to take a day off, and come back to it the next day. This is especially true before editing. It is always good to have some time away to let the rough draft you have just written marinade in your mind.
Don’t take too much time away, or you will lose your connection with your characters.
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