Writing can be a scary task. There are many deadlines to hit, so much to learn, and so much to accomplish.
It can also be a lonely road to follow when you’re consumed by your thoughts and ideas for the journal page. Because writing can sometimes be overwhelming, it’s no wonder that not many people choose writing as a profession.
Then there’s the dreaded writer’s block. It’s when nothing comes to mind, and you’re stuck looking at a blank document. Your mind is just as empty! No ideas are coming in, and you seemed paralyzed to even write a sentence.
While getting writer’s block is not that unusual, there are ways to work around it or stop it. Here are some things I do to get rid of writer’s block:
Writing with Wild Abandon
Embracing every distraction can be counterintuitive when focusing on writing. However, I discovered that writing everything in your brain at the moment, even the nonsensical ideas, can help you organize the chaos in your head.
Just write. Don’t worry about grammar mistakes or even spelling. Don’t think if anything makes sense or not. Just let it all out in your writing. Do this for quite some time, and you’ll find yourself back in the creative zone sooner than you think!
So, set a timer for 15 to 20 minutes, and write down everything you wrap your mind. You’ll get a flurry of chaos made manageable because they’re transposed into written form. Sift through this hot mess and begin organizing your thoughts.
Sometimes you won’t find anything you can use. But at least it got you writing a couple of sentences. Stay with the momentum and keep at it. A good idea will pop out eventually.
Do Something Unrelated to Your Project
Sometimes we need a break from writing. The tricky part is that we are still writing at the back of our minds even when we’re not in front of a computer or don’t have pen and paper.
Some writers have tunnel vision, where they fixate on a particular project. We tend to focus primarily on one thing, which keeps us from seeing other things that we think are unrelated.
With blinkers on, we are actually actively giving ourselves writer’s block. We need to loosen up and take five (or ten) to take off these vision blockers.
Do something completely unrelated, like walking the dog, cooking dinner, doing laundry, or watching a documentary. Doing creative work sometimes requires a moment of respite for our brains.
By doing unrelated and often menial tasks, we give our creativity gears a rest and allow ourselves to explore a world outside the tunnel giving ourselves renewed vigor and vision once we get back to the task at hand.
Juggle Two or Three Writing Projects
Another seemingly counter-productive solution is taking on a couple more writing projects. Hear me out.
Each project would usually have a singular goal. With numerous projects, you’re given two or three plans to choose from. Sometimes, you get writer’s block from one project. But it rarely happens that you’re stuck on two or more tasks.
Constantly shifting gears in writing is like trying to watch two shows with the same timeslot on two channels. You quickly switch to the other channel to catch up whenever the commercial is on. This keeps you on your toes.
Imagine yourself as a chess master fighting ten opponents across ten boards. By splicing your focus into different projects, you sharpen your senses and ride a momentum that can clear out your writer’s block.
Routine Grind and Hustle
As a writer with over a decade’s worth of experience, I can attest that some writers never experience writer’s block.
While I don’t count myself as one of them, I know that there were months and even years during my career when I didn’t experience writer’s block myself.
This was when I decided to keep on grinding and hustling to write no matter what. Writers who grind and hustle take on writing in a systematic and unemotional approach. They share Nike’s motto: Just do it. Or, in our case, “Just write it.”
I often find this method a bit cold and a little bit passionless. I sometimes see my writing devolve into generic and bland pieces. The objective of this solution is not to create works of art but to hit the deadline. I often grind when I don’t have the best ideas because it’s a reliable method to beat the deadline and get the job done.
The Ultimate Combo
As a writer, I tend to balance all my solutions and combine them together. I write with wild abandon during initial drafts. I write, write, write whatever comes to my head, then take a break when I’m tired.
I play around with different projects: my day job tasks, a novel I’m hoping to complete, this blog I’m maintaining, and an ebook about cats! I jump around when I want, which keeps my energy and creativity flowing.
And, of course, I hustle and grind when needed. I’ve learned shortcuts like paraphrasing or using grammar checkers and even dipped my toes in AI, all to get the job done.
But ultimately, as a writer, I believe that writer’s block results from perfectionism, procrastination, and fear. To truly stop it, one must face these hurdles and bravely choose to write daily.