7 Tips to Defeat Writer’s Block

This morning I sat down to write my post – because I love writing with coffee on Sunday mornings – and when I did, I just sat here staring at a blank document. I cruised through Facebook, looked at old posts, tried to pick a topic, and drew a total blank. Nothing.

writers block
Alyssa L. Miller

Well, here I am. While trying to pick a topic, I realized I have a little block. And boom! Here is my topic for the week. When you have a problem, the best thing to do is work through it, so we’re going to work through my temporary writer’s block and give you some tips on how to overcome your own.

1. Take a break.
I have written several posts about taking a break, staying sane, etc. This tips will always top the list. Whether you take frequent 10-minute breaks or a day off, walking away helps. I have decided I am going to do more physically creative things today and break from writing. I have two artsy projects I’m working on, so that’s where I will focus my energy today.

2. Flip your schedule.
I’m a night owl, but I write better in the morning. I can’t always crank it out before 9 a.m. though. Today, I’m going to write this afternoon, and see if a schedule change helps the words flow more easily. Changing things up will help break any habits that may stifle creativity.

3. Know your habits.
I try to crank out as much as possible before noon and maintain a routine. I’m aware of my habits, when I’m most productive, and what I need to write. Sometimes I need absolute silence, sometimes I need the T.V. on, sometimes music. Knowing your habits and giving yourself what you need ensures you’re always in the right environment to work.

4. Change topics.
Recently, I changed jobs and I write a lot more. My problem this morning was that I have focused so much on work topics, I couldn’t think of a good post for RevPub. I decided to make it more personal and write about a topic we’ve never covered. And this post is the result. Try writing something new to you – a poem, short story, article, etc. – and see what you create!

5. Read.
In today’s tech world, we skim, not read. Try sitting down and reading a magazine, a few chapters in a book, articles, or something from a favorite author. Good writing often recharges me and makes me want to write something as good or better.

6. Treat yourself.
We work hard, so reward yourself. If you love Starbucks, then go get a latte. If you love chocolate, books, toys, clothes, or video games, then go buy something. Treating yourself will perk you up and help regain confidence, so you can get back to writing.

7. Try something new.
A fun activity may spark a new interest and lead to new ideas. Try a free online course, something outside like ziplining, or calling someone you haven’t talked to in a while. Maybe try a new recipe for dinner or picking up a new hobby. Something new creates excitement that will carry over into your work.

Thanks for hanging in there this morning, and I hope these tips help you as well. Happy writing, and feel free to share your tips below!

If You Want to Write: The Creative Mind

“… The more clear, tranquil, and unstimulated you are, the slower the ideas come, but the better they are.”

The human mind is a complex and beautiful thing. We process so much information so quickly, sometimes I am amazed that our heads do not literally explode. I know I have felt like mine wanted to.

In Chapter 4 Ueland discusses ideas, inspiration, and creativity in relation to the mind. She states, “Inspiration comes very slowly and quietly.” The inspiration she refers to isn’t that light bulb that goes off and then the words just pour on a page; she describes inspiration in the sense of our ideas and the quality of what we write.

You Don’t Always Have to Be Busy

Ueland explains that we do not always have to be energetic and active in order to have good ideas or write. Instead of wracking our brains and expecting the ideas to flow, we should sit and reflect for a short time. Use this quiet time to clear your mind and find your own voice.

I admit I thought this was bad advice at first. She wanted to me to sit in front of my laptop and try to get a post idea without doing anything? That seemed nuts, but she was right. I took some me time, cooked dinner, and did not think about my post, and it all came together. Maybe resting the mind is needed for good creativity.

There is a fine line between laziness and reflection though. If you lay around and watch TV or read, you are still doing something. You are being lazy. It’s not always a bad thing, but if you need and want to do something and are watching a movie instead, you should think about how that movie accomplishes your goal. That, my friend, is procrastination.

Other Tips About Creativity:

— Be your own critic. Do not worry what others will think.

— Stay away from stimulants and/or drugs that cloud your mind and judgment.

— Be happy with your work. It is more important that you love and are proud of your product. And I bet, if you truly love it, others will too.

— Don’t stress writer’s block. Instead, use that time as your quiet time and jot down ideas or notes. Even those will help you develop thoughts and processes.

We place so much pressure on ourselves, we forget that our minds work at their own pace. We can beat our head against a wall, and nothing good will come out. You can’t force a good idea. I also recommend yoga for exercise and reflection. I have had some of my best ideas come to me about work, family, and for friends in meditation. And it only takes five minutes. We can all work in five minutes and rest our brains.

I hope these tips help those who are struggling with ideas or projects. Sometimes the best thing to do is sit in front of the screen and look out the window. If you have any tips on how you relax or stop thinking, feel free to share below!