6 Simple Things I Do To Overcome Writer’s Block
TFD is home to a community of many writers and many students (among many other wonderful types of people). Aside from just specifically writers, a lot of people who work in creative fields find it hard, at time, to force creativity — sometimes, it doesn’t come naturally. Sometimes, there is a block.
For this reason, I thought I would share a set of special tips that I use very often as both a writer and a student –- my tips on how to combat writer’s block.
Before I go into the tips, here are a few extra thoughts:
1. I (and other TFD writers) will sometimes get strange comments from people saying things like “why do you write about x so much?” or “this is boring” or “I’ve read something like this before”, and I’d like to address this in the most honest way I can: we, as humans, can often only write thoughts as fast as we can think them. When your job is to write articles every day, there may be a few times where your article isn’t new, isn’t groundbreaking, and overall just isn’t a winner. I’m not particularly proud of those articles, but they do exist.
2. Writer’s block is very real. There isn’t exactly scientific proof, but people are working on it (I think/hope). Life happens, distractions happen, and creativity takes naps. It is all real, but writing is sometimes a necessity, like if you write for a living, or you are a student who is required to write a 10,000-word essay on the movie Alien for some reason. (True story.)
So, at the risk of allowing myself to ramble more, I’ll get right into the good stuff: my six tips on how I clear my mind and combat writer’s block when I’m faced with it.
1. Take a shower.
The bathroom seems to be the spot where most people do their best thinking. I have no science-reason for this (wouldn’t it be cool if there was one?) but it is just true. When I need to reset and refocus, I hop in the shower. It is relaxing, which definitely puts me in a better place when I need to get work done, but it is also a solid 10 minutes of silent me-time, meaning I have literally nothing else to do in there but think.
2. Write literally anything.
I use this especially when I’m working on a school assignment about a topic I don’t give a single heck about. If I just start typing words — any words, even if they are just made-up garbage nonsense –- I eventually get on track and find myself better able to form the necessary sentences to construct my research paper.
3. Read a little bit.
It is no secret that people who read are often better writers, even if only due to the extra exposure to language, spelling, and grammar. Reading is one of the best ways for me to get prepared to write, because seeing words next to each other on a page reminds me that I, too, am capable of doing this. In fact, one of my favorite things to do when it comes to writing (stretching back to a course I took a few years ago where the professor required us to do this for every written assignment) is to look through a thesaurus for words I might like to use that might spark some creativity. Once I see a word that I like and decide to use it, I start to get ideas for sentences, and perhaps even become a little inspired to write something.
4. Take a nap.
I like to imagine that creativity can be forced, but at some point, exhaustion may take over and you may need to reset. Much like a shower, (but definitely with more evidence behind it), sleep allows your brain to work shit out without you even realizing it, while resting your tired bod at the same time. So if I find myself incredibly stuck, I take a nap –- and often wake up with a clear, rested mind, and often, a few new ideas.
5. Take off the pressure.
There are a few different ways I do this. One is similar to point two –- I write about things that I maybe don’t need to write about or maybe shouldn’t be writing about just to get myself feeling a little more in the ~write-y mood~ by rambling on about topics that bring me joy and pleasure. Taking the pressure of writing something serious and important off gets me in a better emotional place to write the thing I need to write, like a TFD post or an essay.
Another way I take the pressure off myself is by switching over to the old-fashioned method of writing: notebook and pen. This definitely slows the actual process of writing itself (I probably can’t hand-write too many words-per-minute), but the pressure of a blank Microsoft Word document is immediately lifted, and I feel a little safer with whatever I’m writing. Suddenly, it feels less like an assignment and more like a journal session.
6. Write about writers’ block.
If all else fails –- heh.
Mary writes every day for TFD, and tweets every day for her own personal fulfillment. Talk to her about money and life at email@example.com!
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