Writer’s block is a real thing. It is not a fancy word for people who are lazy to write. They happen to even the best of writers and those who desire to pen their thoughts but lack the will to.
When this feeling comes, what should writers do? How does one overcome writer’s block and get back to being productive?
This is what this article will be addressing. We will explore 9 techniques that can help you overcome writer’s block.
What Is Writer’s Block
Writer’s block is an overwhelming situation where writers with a desire to write are unable to start or finish writing. This situation has different severity levels. While it may last a few hours for some, others might remain in this unproductive state for years.
Interestingly, writing blocks is not uncommon for writers. At least, an average writer should experience it once or more during their writing career.
Therefore do not panic when you are unable to pen your thoughts. Rather identify its root cause and address it accordingly.
Reasons For Writer’s Block
There are several reasons one could have a writing block. Some of the common ones include those that have to do with the writer’s inability to be creative.
A writer can develop a writing block when there is a lack of motivation to write and create content. This could occur when the writer’s muse and inspiration are lost due to an unfortunate situation. For instance, a writer who gets his muse from his romantic relationship will suddenly lack the will to write when a heartbreak occurs.
Other writers are motivated by a reward system e.g. good pay. Therefore, they find it difficult to write when such rewards are missing or not sufficient.
Psychological issues like writing anxiety and feelings of incompetence also cause writer’s block. Most times these issues come as a result of the desire to attain perfection or meet certain writing standards.
Other causes include distractions, fear, inability to meet tight deadlines, burnout, procrastination, etc.
Overcoming Writer’s Block
Writer’s block is not one deadly syndrome that can’t be overcome. With the right approach, you can overcome your writer’s block and get back to being productive.
If you find it difficult to put your thoughts into writing like before, the following steps will help you recover back to your productive state.
Take A Break
Sounds counterproductive, right? Imagine telling a person struggling with writing to stop writing for a while; well that should be your first response to writer’s block.
One thing you should not do during your writing struggle is to fuel your inadequacy. This is what some people do when they have writer’s block. The forced attempts to write even when you find it difficult will only lead to anxiety and subsequently worsen your writer’s block.
Instead of that, take a break from writing. It could be days, weeks, or even months, depending on the cause and severity of the issue. During that break period, you can be involved in other activities that can bring back your muse.
Read From Other Writers
This method is effective for those who feel inadequate and lack motivation to write. Reading your favorite genres or from your favorite authors can inspire you to write again, especially when you enjoy and relate well with the piece.
It could also help you identify techniques you find interesting from the other writer, and replicate it in your writing. This way, you can get better at writing by learning from other writer’s work.
Distractions are one of the reasons some writers fail to start or complete a writing task even when they are inspired to. They are one of the reasons some writers postpone tasks till they get overwhelmed.
If you want to stop procrastinating and get more productive as a writer, then you will need to eliminate distractions.
Create A Schedule
Creating a workable schedule is a great way to reduce distractions and subsequently prevent work burnout. As we all know, burnout is one reason many writers go into writer’s block.
You should schedule all your writing tasks and try to follow them through. Therefore, for this technique to work you must know the time of the day you work better.
The Pomodoro technique helps you approach your writing tasks bit by bit till you can complete them. You don’t have to complete a writing task at a go. Having intermittent breaks in between writing will make your work much easier and faster.
This is how the Pomodoro technique works: you will write part of the task for 25 minutes then take a 5-minute break. You will repeat the cycle to take a longer break of about 15 minutes.
Change Your Environment
There are several reasons why you should change your environment when having writer’s block. It could be that your current environment is not giving you the needed muse to write creatively and only a change of environment could do the magic. It could also be that your current environment is full of distractions, hence your unproductivity.
Join A Writing Community
This is a no-brainer. Joining a writing community will provide you with all the support and inspiration you need to get back to writing.
Truly, one of the best people to bring you out of writer’s block is your fellow writers. This is where iron sharpens iron comes into full play.
Engage In Writing Challenges Or Contests
Writing contests have a way of stimulating your interest in writing especially if there is an attached reward. If you are struggling with penning your thoughts, a high-reward contest can be that muse you need to get back to writing.
Free writing is the process of penning down your thoughts, raw as they come, without stopping to think or edit them. This helps you overcome your lack of confidence and unleash the creative part of you. If you harness this strategy properly, you will be on your way to overcoming writer’s block.
It could be quite scary when you begin to find it difficult to write like you used to. However, panicking at this point won’t solve your issues. You need to first identify the root cause and engage in any of the strategies listed above to combat this feeling.
Have you ever had a writer’s block? Were you able to break through this feeling? What strategies listed above do you think are the most effective for overcoming writer’s block? Please share your thoughts with us via the comment section.
Lynn Martelli is an editor at Readability. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University and has worked as an editor for over 10 years. Lynn has edited a wide variety of books, including fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, and more. In her free time, Lynn enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with her family and friends.