How to Get Over Your Writer’s Block Blues
No writer in the world can say that they have never experienced writer’s block. That dreadful moment when you are sitting in front of your computer and nothing is happening. The feeling can leave you frustrated, especially if you have a deadline coming up. Whether you are a writer of fiction or non-fiction, when the writer’s block comes, it can keep you prisoner for a while.
Writer’s block can be caused by a number of issues, including stress, fatigue and a lack of sleep. These can cause your brain and body to not function properly, resulting in the writer’s block. It is nothing to be ashamed of and it can be tackled. Here’s how:
- Gather your thoughts
One of the reasons some writers might have writer’s block is that they are thinking of too many things at once. This is a sign that your brain is tired and needs time to rest. If you are struggling, then back away from your work space and try focusing your attention on something different for a few minutes. You could try looking at a painting, talking to someone, going outside to get some air or whipping up a little snack. After that, go back to your work area and see if you can concentrate on your work again.
Because writing requires so much focus, the brain works overtime to make sure that all your thoughts are aligned. After some time, the brain gets tired and may become slack in doing its job. The best way to get your brain back on board is to get your blood circulating. Take a jog or a walk, go to the gym or do any task that will require you to be active.
- Sleep is vital
If you still can’t get it right then leave it for the next day. Try to get sufficient sleep and wake up fresh and early the next morning to start your writing. Writing in a quiet and calm environment first thing in the morning might get those creative juices flowing, as your mind hasn’t yet been contaminated by the pressures of the day. Sleeping allows our brains to reboot and reconnect; maybe your brain is just telling you it needs some rest.
- Write down your thoughts
Keep a journal where you can jot down your thoughts as you go along. Keep it with you wherever you go. When a great idea comes, write it down. When you read all these ideas later they might trigger your memory and allow you to start writing again.
If the words are just not coming, try to write a rough mind map of the key points and ideas. At this point try and arrange the flow and set the tone you are looking for.
- Bad habits
Eating a healthy diet can often kick start your brain into action again. Healthy food can improve your mood, meaning a greater chance of actually writing, and can feed your brain with nutrients. Bad eating and sleeping habits can cause mental fatigue and a general feeling of being unwell.
Take care of yourself first. If your writer’s block persists, deal with whatever you think the underlying problem is. Try not to criticize yourself and your work too early on. If you are not pressed for time, get as many words onto your screen as possible; after all, some words are better than no words at all.
All writers sometimes get lost for words, this is not a bad thing and it can be seen as an opportunity to take a step back and re-evaluate your work.
Written by Zimasa Mpemnyama
Image credit: Drew Coffman, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr