The new year is upon us and many of you have some new years resolutions to get started on. As a writer, my resolution is to improve my craft and set some writing goals to achieve each week. Of course, regardless of skill level, there is one pest that has annoyed writers since the very beginning. That pest of course is called writer’s block. This annoying little beast puts projects on hold and can send any writer spiraling. So how do we beat it and get back on track? Today we will be exploring some options that may help you along the way.
Tools of the Trade
A good writer always comes prepared. If you’re planning on taking writing seriously then always keep a pen and paper at arm’s reach. Why a pen and paper though? Is this not the age of technology? Can’t I just type it on my phone’s notes? Sure, you can. However, sometimes pulling out a notebook and physically writing it down will help you remember your notes more. This in turn keeps your mind just a bit sharper. Go along with your day and if at any point an idea pops into your head, go ahead and write it down. Later you’ll be able to go over everything you wrote. With any luck, you’ll now have some fresh ideas stacked up when you finally sit down to work.
If you can, consider investing in a laptop for when you really want to take your work with you. Sometimes a writer just needs a change in scenery and perhaps a cup of coffee. Working from home can sometimes be distracting and writing hundreds of words on your phone might not always be ideal. It’s good to change your work location from time to time. Visit a library, go to a coffee shop, or work outside.
You may have a project you are currently passionate about. However, along the way, you might get stumped and struggle to continue writing. Consider switching over to another project in the meantime. Sometimes changing your focus temporarily is a good way to recharge your creativity while at the same time staying in the mood for writing. Just because you are struggling with one project doesn’t mean you’ll feel the same way about another. Staying motivated is important and getting stuck can take you out of the writing mood if you find yourself making no progress for hours.
When you switch your focus to another project, it keeps you writing instead of just staring at your screen. Having this steady stream of ideas flowing is something you want to maintain. Keeping your brain active is important and once you’re done branching off you can return to the project that had you stumped. Hopefully, you’ll be able to continue from where you left off without losing that momentum.
Change Your Scenery or Try Something New
Writing exercises can get you far, however, sometimes what a writer needs is a spark of inspiration. For this, take some time to read a book, see a movie, or try experiencing something you haven’t done before. It might sound like you’re slacking but in reality, your mind is absorbing all sorts of new information.
Personally, I enjoy writing horror. Earlier this week I gained inspiration for a short story after being put on the night shift. Having to step outside in the dark to collect some items from storage really set the right mood. It reminded me of how countless horror stories began. Inspiration can come from any place and happen at any time. So being exposed to different ideas and experiences can help you find that little spark that sets off your next big project.
Create a Vault
Sometimes you’ll get an idea and work on it slightly before realizing you are not really interested in the way it’s coming out. This can be frustrating, however, you may want to think twice before you delete what you wrote. You started writing about the topic because something about it interested you. Instead of throwing it out, save it for later. You never know when you’ll want to revisit old territory.
Those moments when you have writer’s block are the perfect time to rummage through your vault. Look through all your old ideas and see if your opinion has changed about them. Perhaps you will find something that inspires you to complete your old work. In other cases, your newer project might benefit from some of your older ideas. With a vault full of ideas there’s no limit to what you can come up with even during the biggest blocks.
Ask a Friend
Feedback is a writer’s greatest tool. Seek out a friend or two. Show them your work and let them tell you what they think so far. Ideally, it would be nice to get some pointers from someone who knows their way around writing. However, even people who don’t dedicate their time to writing can give you a hand in figuring out where to go next. After all, before you started writing, you were reading and processing the words on the page. So sometimes the best way to beat writer’s block is having another brain working with you. Like the old saying goes “Two heads are better than one”.
Take a Moment to Rest
Sometimes the simplest answer to your problems is a good night’s sleep. You may have writing goals you want to meet but forcing yourself to continue when you’re overworked is never a good idea. Feel free to take a nap or get a good night’s rest. You can wake up feeling refreshed in the morning with a clear head and a positive attitude.
We Have Reached the End
Hopefully, these tips will help you get over your writer’s block and back on track. Writing isn’t always easy so it’s nice to know there are options for when you get stuck. If you’re a beginner writer feel free to check out my other article on writing by following this link. With that said let’s get to work!