Every writer experiences writer’s block at some point or another in their career. Even if you write poetry, research papers, short stories, or full-length novels, you will encounter this particular problem.
Here are my 10 tips for overcoming writer’s block:
1. Figure out why
This is simple but very complicated at the same time. Why are you stuck? What is it about the scene that has you blocked? Is it the content? The subject matter? Is it something you are uncomfortable writing? Maybe it’s new for you, and deep down, you’re afraid you will mess it up. Often, when I am stuck, I find that it may be a scene that I was dreading writing. Once you figure out why, then the rest of this advice may come easier.
2. Keep writing
I know this one sounds simple, but it’s effective. Even if you think what you’re writing is utter shit, get it on the page. Force yourself to write something, even if it’s only a couple hundred words. You can always go back and rework it. You may even like what you wrote once you take some time away from it.
3. Talk to a friend
If I’m stuck on something, I talk to my friend(s) or significant others about it. They need to know your piece’s plot in great detail, so I typically ask my beta or editor. I’ve found that bouncing ideas off of them helps me in many ways:
-It gets the creative juices flowing.
-It makes me excited to be writing it again.
-Sometimes, the person I’m talking to has excellent ideas to add.
4. Go out
I know this has become increasingly difficult with current COVID-19 measures in place, but go for a walk. Sometimes fresh air and a change of scenery are all you need.
5. Change your scenery
Just like number 4, this has become difficult due to current COVID-19 restrictions. If you write on a laptop or with a pen and a piece of paper, take it somewhere else. Go sit out on your porch, or find the corner of a local book/coffee place. Just wear a mask!
6. Do what inspires you
This is largely dependent on the individual writer. What inspires me may not inspire you. Personally, I draw a lot of inspiration for my writing from music. I find songs that remind me of the current book I’m working on, or I listen to a playlist that I love.
7. Write something else
If you are on a deadline, this may feel like the worst advice ever, but it does help. Even if you skip to a different scene in the same piece or change paths entirely and work on a short story. There is a slippery slope, though. You don’t want to allow yourself to get too distracted, then end up with a ridiculous amount of unfinished works. We can revisit staying on track later if you’d like.
8. Take a break
It could be something small like watching an episode of your favorite TV show, wasting an hour on TikTok, or playing a game on your phone (my current favorite is Harry Potter: Puzzles and Spells). Taking a break gives your mind a chance to rest.
9. Read something
Reading your favorite book or even something new can inspire you in your work. Reading other pieces inspires me to get better in my own books.
10. Sleep on it
This doesn’t mean that you should stop thinking about it for 24 hours. This advice is the opposite. It’s best if you are thinking about it. Sometimes, I will contemplate it for a few days and slowly work it out in my head.
Like I’ve said before, these may not work for everyone. This is just some of the things that I do when I’m struggling with writers block. If you have your own, feel free to message me on my social media platforms below!