There are elements to writing that can be incredibly frustrating and sometimes flat-out annoying. There’s sleeping limbs and the consequent pins and needles, tingling toes. There’s shoulder tension, neck pain, cramped fingers, tired eyes, paper cuts, ink stains. There’s wandering minds and distracted days. But the absolute worst culprit is writer’s block.
It’s that singularly crippling affliction of the brain that sets out to devastate your page output and leave you the victim of your our doubt filled thoughts while your fingers hover over the keyboard, frozen in deadpan. Writer’s block is just horrible. Absolutely horrible.
So I’ve complied a little list of my tried and tested methods to banish this most pesky of writing alignments:
1. Favourite Author Acknowledgement.
Keep a book you love close at hand at all times. Carry it around with you when you go to write somewhere. Preferablysomething that you’ve read a few times or even flagged passages in that demonstrate the prowess that is that author’s skill. Let these words, crafted by an author you admire, remind you of what first inspired you to chase this literary dream of yours.
2. Just Write.
Spoiler alert – what you force out here will probably be some pretty shitty writing that will make you cringe. Keep going. It’s the hardest thing to do when you’re blocked up but if you can press through and just write you could get yourself out of the funk. What you write doesn’t necessarily need to be on topic or relevant at all, but just don’t stop. Write for at least a minute straight, then more if you need to. Even switch up the mode of writing from typing to printing by hand or vice versa. I’ve sat and timed out 5 minutes and just wrote. The result really was some seriously bad writing but it worked and got me past the block.
Yeah, that’s right, physically clean. Make the bed, do some dishes, throw in a load of laundry or maybe just reorganize your book shelf (double up and get a touch of #1 in there too that way). Doing something that demands little thought gives your brain time to wander and as an added bonus maybe by the time insight hits, you’ll have a clean home or at least an empty sink.
4. Change Up The Scenery.
Despite the writing gold the sanctuary you’ve created for your writing practice has brought you, with its burning candles and sweet chair and abundant greenery, leaving its solace for a time can really help re-frame and re-focus your mind. Pack up your laptop or grab a notebook and pen and head out for a walk to your local coffee injection site or drive to a library, cafe, park or any other writeable place that suits your needs. If you’re lucky, inspiration could just be in the journey there in itself.
5. Talk it out.
Don’t go it alone. If you’re struggling to get the words out, let alone get them straight, speaking to someone can really help. Sometimes I can honestly just say a few jumbled sentences to Sam and although my blabbering has made literally no sense to him or anyone, the words just spring into my head and I can pour them back out into my work.
To take it a step further, and if all else fails…
6. Make A Date.
More specifically a writing date, but you do you. Working with a friend who’s working on their own thing is a great motivation. You can encourage, critique and inspire one another while stimulating an environment of creativity. Not to mention the added bonus of a built in editor for those tough paragraphs where a second opinion is a must because you’ve read and re-read it so much that your brain is now mush. Just being around people who are not suffering from the block can really get your creative juices pumping again. And if not, at least now you’re with a friend and can go drown your sorrows in alcohol later.
Well, there it is! My list of (hopefully) helpful tips to get yourself out of the funk that is better known as writer’s block.
My note to end on this though is, just remember that, as irritating as this particular anti-writing bug is, you’re not beat. You’ll write again. And you’ll do so as though this hiccup never happened to begin with. Don’t beat yourself up. Be patient. Writing is a practice. One that you’ll always be able to improve on with persistence and hard work and time. So let time be your friend. Good luck.