When the rains of lethargy and inertia washes over you slowly peeling back the layers of motivation and inspiration that had accumulated over the past day or so, it may seem like the hardest thing in the world to write, let alone to overcome writer’s block. As a writer who tries to put up a new blog post everyday, it can often feel daunting and even hopeless to just sit and wait for the words to churn out, like an outpouring of water coming from a dam. And when the words don’t come out fast enough and you are just left staring at a blank screen, your body starts to tremble as feelings of failure and anguish take over. And then, before you know it, you are simply stuck, between a rock and a hard place, not able to go anywhere, your mind hopelessly blank and searching. But before you get to that point, scroll down to check out these seven foolproof ways that you can overcome writer’s block.
Do anything but write.
It might seem counterproductive to do anything but write, but it really does work. When you suddenly feel uninspired and unmotivated, sometimes the best thing to do is simply to take a step back and do something else. Go out for a jog, engage in some retail therapy, listen to music, or read a book. While your latest writing project is placed on that metaphorical back burner, I guarantee you that inspiration will come while you are doing something else, and most likely when you least expect it. When that does happen, just be sure to have something handy to jot down the idea before it disappears as quick as lightening flashing through the sky.
[See also: The 5 Best Hobbies to Do While Social Distancing]
Use the chain story method.
Remember that story game that you used to play in your English classes? You know, one person would give a sentence, and then another person would give another sentence, and so on until you came up with something that sounds like absolute drivel but a story nonetheless. Well, to get your writing gears rolling, trying using the chain story method. And the best part is: you get to involve a friend or two. What this will accomplish is getting you to relax and laugh, and hopefully release some endorphins, as well as spending quality time with your friends. It’s a win-win situation.
Write about your feelings.
A very wise person once told me something when I was complaining about writer’s block. They told me that I should simply write about it. I should write about writer’s block. It seemed unfathomable to me. Write about writer’s block? But despite my feelings of unease and apprehension, I tried it. This is the result. In retrospect, when you don’t know what to write, then go with your present reality. Write about your feelings. Evoke all five (or even six) of your senses. Describe what you see and what you hear. Show your current predicament and how you feel about it. Sometimes writing about the situation can often act as a means to liberate the feelings that are holding you back from writing.
Use writing prompts.
This is one that I have used a lot, particularly when I was younger. Use writing prompts. There are several writing prompt generators on the Internet like this one, or this one. Writing prompts are helpful in that they present a unique situation that you must somehow flesh out. They give you the opportunity to get the gears in your mind spinning, immersing yourself into another world. It also provides a distraction from your current writing project. Even if you have to take a break from that one, at least you can distract yourself by writing something else. Who knows, this latest project might even be able to be incorporated into the one that you are working on.
Find inspiration through images.
I have used this method on my own blog. Sometime last year in the middle of a pandemic, I couldn’t think what to write. So, I rippled through the image gallery in the WordPress.com editor. I selected one image that spoke to me. And then, I wrote about it. This is the result. Thus, I found inspiration through an image. This was a catharsis for me in that I felt myself being stripped away of all the feelings of demotivation and failure as I focused on a specific goal: describing an image.
Create a mind map.
Anyone who has had to go through the entire writing process in an English class in high school would be familiar with creating a mind map. A mind map is a great way for the writer to map out their ideas during the prewriting or brainstorming part of the writing process. The writer begins with a word, or a topic. And then, the writer draws three (or more) lines that are related, or are sub-topics. The writer can then draw more lines connecting those sub-topics to more sub-sub-topics. The purpose of creating a mind map is help narrow your topic down. Instead of writing about dogs, for example, perhaps you could write about the benefits of owning a beagle. Create a mind map to help give your writing focus, while also bringing yourself out of writer’s block.
Eat something good.
And last but certainly not least, it is possible that you might have a bout of writer’s block due to the simple fact that you are hungry. Being hungry can take a physical toll on your body. But did you know that being hungry can also affect your mind as well? When you are hungry, your ability to focus, to remember, and make decisions can affect you mentally, thus contributing to writer’s block (source). Therefore, make sure that you eat something good so that you are nourishing your body and mind. Once you scarf down something delicious whether it be a bowl of spaghetti, half of a papaya, or a couple of chocolate chip cookies, then you will be ready to write with a full and quiet belly.