By: Chelsea Tamborski
Writer’s block: the dreaded experience that every writer encounters as they piece together any work. No matter the depth of research or length of time spent preparing what to write, it’s always possible to be struck with a period of dead silence. The ideas and creativity seem to have disappeared, and it can lead to desperate and frustrating rage. Before you begin to pull out your hair or resort to crying in a corner, here are some helpful ways to alleviate these horrible bouts of unproductive writer’s block.
Initiating a Writing Schedule
If you’ve already hit your writer’s block, this step may seem counterintuitive. Why start a writing schedule if you don’t know what to write? This step is all about preparedness. If a writing schedule is implemented beforehand, it helps to ease any strain in coming up with new ideas in the heat of the moment. Also, with the help of a schedule, it’s easy to maintain a deadline, which is even more rewarding once it’s kept.
Stop Bring Critical
Writing is difficult, and if you begin to overthink what you’re writing, and start to become critical towards your writing style, it’ll be three times as hard to finish anything. Ease into what you’re writing, and stop the critical thoughts before they begin. There is a time and place for critiquing yourself, but only after you’ve exhausted the depth of your creativity and begin revision.
Writing is a Job
This technique might seem discouraging, as most people would consider writing to be an art form, but most people are not writers. Not only does approaching a writing assignment as if it were a duty make you more likely to keep your deadline, it also helps ease the added strain of trying to appease some hierarchy of writing judges.
Think of this step as a way to work out your brain. Some exercises are only meant to help get pen to paper, while others help polish certain techniques you might struggle with. A common writing exercise is an ABC story, where you write exactly twenty-six sentences, the first word of each sentence starting with the next letter of the alphabet, in order. For example:
A dog ran across the street. Before I could run after him, a car drove between us. Cautiously, I attempted to follow him after it passed.
And continue that way until you finish with the letter Z.
Your writing area is a place just for writing. It’s a place where you can let the inspirational flow and ignore the outside world. When considering where to writ, ask yourself, is it well lit? Is it cluttered? Is it separated from distractions? Any of these hindrances could place a serious burden on your continued writing success. Try to clear your area of any distractions and open the curtains; it’s too dark in there.
Remember Why You’re Writing
Somewhere in between the commas, character lists, and bold headlines, it can be quite easy to forget why you started writing in the first place. Once you realize this, stop what you’re doing immediately. Without a set goal or reason in mind, you’ll only lose your way, and writer’s block will surely be lurking right around the corner. Try to remember what you’re passionate about and why that passion made you turn to writing.
Each of these strategies for overcoming writer’s block are simple, general steps. You have to find what works for you. Writer’s block is as old as writing itself, and there are tons of supportive resources that exist. So, don’t worry: you and your writer’s block are not alone.
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