Writers block is the state of mind whereby a writer loses the capacity to put words on paper. The reasons can vary depending on the author and so it’s important to tap into that inner self to resolve how to overcome writers block. Some writers can abandon their writing for days, weeks or months. Others have let this talent lapse for years. The longer you go without writing the more difficult it is to get back into the writing-creative mode so it’s important not to let it recess for too long.
What is noteworthy to mention is that some of the greatest writers such as Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Wolf or Leo Tolstoy and many others suffered from temporary lapses in their ability to produce any form of writing. These great writers also had to realize techniques to overcoming writers block. Keep in mind that every writer is different, and as a result, the ways to tap into the creative side of writing will also vary.
What causes writers block?
This can occur due to many factors. Those factors can be stress related, a writer feeling inadequate, too much on a person’s mind, health issues, depression, thinking that there isn’t time to write, a writer having great success on another project and then not being able to start again because of greater challenges or just simply not being in the mood to work on a new endeavor. Whatever it is that is causing this interval in writing, a writer has to determine the reason of how to best get back to their creative side and overcome writers block.
Stress can be related to home, work or both and it comes in many forms and from different directions. Sometimes stress is caused from bad relationships, financial hardships, work- related issues, from children, book deadlines, high expectations from friends and relatives or the possible loss of a friend or family member. The first thing is to identify the stress and then to determine how to best handle the stress so that it doesn’t impact your writing schedule.
Writing can be a form of “de-stressing.” If you begin to view writing as a tool to ward off stress, it eventually becomes something that you really look forward to instead of something to avoid; it will be a natural tool to overcoming writers block. Treat your scheduled time for writing as a moment where you are drawn into that zone of no worries or stress. This writing time should be where you enter that inner self to escape from the world at large.
Overcoming Writers Block
There are many techniques to overcoming writers block as there are writers. Some techniques will work for some of the people and some will not. The key to finding the best technique for you is just determining what works best at getting you to write again. Below are some suggestions to help you overcome writers block.
- Set a Time and Schedule – It helps to establish a regular time for writing and it should be where you can comfortably sit at your favorite place of writing. It’s important to treat this appointment with yourself as a normal engagement. Do not change or cancel this appointment unless it is crucial to do so.
- Set a Word Goal – Set a word goal for the day such as 500 or 1000 words a day. It can be more or less, however, the goal should be realistic and attainable.
- Find a Place of Motivation – Your writing location should be one that allows you solace and where you can concentrate. It should be a place where you are most comfortable. Depending on a writer’s preference, this place can be a place with nature in abundance or a place with an urban flair. It’s whatever “floats your boat” and inspires you to write.
- Review Previous Material – Reviewing things that you have previously written can sometimes help to get you into the zone of writing. Sometimes this helps to get those creative juices flowing again.
- Research Writing Topic – Doing research on the topic that you may be writing about can sometimes help to get you in the mood to write. Just the excitement of discovering new material can sometimes trigger the creative side and may just get those fingers typing away on a keyboard.
- Listen to Music – Listening to music that inspires can be a great way to help get a writer to overcome writers block. It is said that music touches a person’s soul and that it’s the language of the world; thereby, this may be just the inspiration that is needed to overcome writers block.
- Exercise – If you are experiencing writers block, sometimes a walk can stimulate a person to write. It can be a walk around the neighborhood, a simple walk to the kitchen for a glass of water, yoga or even a more exuberant exercise program that will help get words to paper. The important thing is to find something that works best for you.
- Omit Self Critical Thoughts – Everyone is a self critic to some degree. The trick is to minimize those self critical thoughts or to use them for self improvement. Sometimes we become our own worst enemy. We may think we are inadequate because we may not have attended college or maybe our parents made us feel incompetent in some way or another; however, we need to remember to keep those things in perspective. Sometimes, it’s good to remember that as writers, those self critical feelings can be used to develop our best work as we draw on those emotional tides.
- Notepad – Most of us get ideas when we least expect them or when it’s not the time that we have set aside to write. That is why it’s important to be prepared to capture those ideas for future use. A good way to do this is to always carry a small notebook or a recorder with you at all times. In this way those ideas won’t be left to memory and can be expanded upon when you have the time. Using this technique to capture new ideas can help to get the creative writing juices flowing and help to overcome writers block when you sit down to write.
- Skipping Sections – Most of us have had moments when we may not feel like writing about a particular topic at a particular time and is why we avoid writing. But it doesn’t have to be. By skipping a particular section in our writing, with the intent of getting back to it at a later time, can be beneficial to overcoming writers block. Other times it may be beneficial to begin writing in the middle of an event rather than at the beginning. That sometimes helps a person begin writing again if they have stopped. It may be that starting in the middle of a topic or event may be more interesting for both the writer and the reader.
- Small Rewards – Sometimes allowing yourself a small reward for writing a certain amount of words can help motivate you to write again. It can be as small as rewarding yourself with a favorite drink to going to a special place. Reward yourself with something that will motivate you to sit down to begin writing again.
- Multi-tasking – Sometimes working on more than one project helps writers because they work best when they multi-task. Some people prefer this and if this is the catalyst that motivates you to write, make sure you have several projects going at once.
Involvement with the Literary World. Stay in touch with persons that will motivate you to write and can provide you with encouragement. It’s important to find friends that are involved and interested in the literary world, a writer’s club or who may be authors. These people will help to encourage you to continue writing again if your writing has lapsed in some way. The more you surround yourself with like minds, the more support you will find in helping to overcome writers block.