According to Wikipedia, Writer’s block is “a condition, primarily associated with writing, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work or experiences a creative slowdown. The condition ranges in difficulty from coming up with original ideas to being unable to produce a work for years. Throughout history, writer’s block has been a documented problem.”
I know…it sounds a lot like a #firstworldproblem, but anyone who is/has been a writer knows that it is very real and intensely dreaded! The good news is that there are ways to get through a block, or maybe even avoid one altogether. Here are some of my tried-and-trues:
- Press play. Music has been known to improve lots of things in life, including productivity and creative inspiration. Some swear by listening to it while you work and some say you should listen to it before you work. Either way, I suggest checking out the “focus,” “chill,” or “mood” genres/moods on Spotify to get you in the groove (or anything similar on your music service of choice).
- Skip it (not the 90’s toy…unless you have one handy, then see #5). Skip a section or topic that’s giving you trouble; you may find it’s easier to come back to later on after you’ve filled in all other possible sections. You may even discover a better way to go about the trouble area when you return!
- Caffeeeeeine. It’s the magical elixir from the heavens when it comes to being creatively productive. Sometimes, it helps to shed light on new ideas you hadn’t gotten to yet. I find it best to start focusing before it kicks in to be sure I’m on track when it does. Have a cup of coffee, sip some green or black tea, and get to work! *If caffeine isn’t your thing, water can work just as well…chug a cool glass to get those brain juices flowing!*
- Get inspired. Has someone else written on the same topic before? Chances are, yes, and you should check it out. It can be super helpful to get inspired by similar work. It can also be the nice kick of motivation you need to do come up with your best stuff yet!
- Move it. Are you working in an environment that fosters your creativity? Or just the opposite? If your brain works like mine, sitting somewhere stagnant can stifle creativity, making it hard to get over a hump. I know you may not have the option to just leave work at will, so at the very least, take your brain out for a mental jog. Get up, walk around, stretch, talk to a neighbor, call your mom, watch a funny viral video, bust out that Skip-it, or close your eyes and meditate for a few minutes. Find what works for you!
- Check it off. To-do lists are little lifesavers. If you feel like your brain is overflowing with info, jot down a list of all the things you need get done (and make a separate list for things that aren’t work-related). This will help you to clear your thoughts, organize, and, key word, prioritize! With a visual in front of you, it can be easier to figure out your next move, leaving your brain ready to take on whatever is next.
Next time you’ve got a block, try one (or all) of these out and watch the creative magic flow. Now, adding to my to-do list: buy a Skip-it.