How to Overcome Writer’s Block
Dear Writer, or… Reader,
There comes a time in every writer’s daily work when the words just won’t write themselves anymore. The flow becomes out of whack. You think too hard about where to start, how to avoid cliches, when the best time to end a piece is, and the list goes on. When that flow stops- from one writer to another- it can be crushing. But, before falling into a cycle of anxiety over not knowing what to write and attempting to write while experiencing anxiety over not knowing what to write, hear me out.
Writer’s block is a phenomenon experienced by all writers at one point or another. It isn’t a sign to stop your passion, it’s a sign to take a break and collect yourself. Creative slowdowns are reason enough to get going on something new and enhance your current state of mind.
Go for a walk. While we adapt to the impacts of the pandemic, make sure to be safe and stroll where you are allowed to. Walks are known to improve creativity and divergence of thought. Breathe in the fresh air, feel the sensation of the cool breeze against your bare skin, notice the feel of a flower petal, or the grass beneath your feet. This practice of taking a break from writing and introducing the outside world to your cluttered mind can give you a change in perspective and uplift your mood. Finding interest in the outside world, in nature, etc. promotes engagement with your surroundings, and can be inspirational to your work.
Listen to music and freewrite. The purpose of freewriting is to get your mind back in the flow state. Music can sometimes be distracting when we write, however, during a freewriting session, music can serve as a point of reference for settling into your creative story. Freewriting is a great way to warm-up, and with the help of music, whatever your genre may be, your mind may be more receptive to lyricism, hearing sounds as characters in your story with their own personality, etc. Imagine a song as an ebb-and-flow, as the highs and lows of a movie… a developing story and you may find new inspiration for your own.
Change your environment. Sometimes, being cooped up inside can limit your imagination. Stepping outside with your notepad or laptop can expand your ideas- the sky’s the limit, as they say. If you’re unable to step outside of your isolation, try changing rooms, or, better yet, adding new decor to your space. Whether that’s bringing in a plant, which is proven to uplift your mood, or a new art piece, the choice is yours to change things up.
Use your senses. Inspiration comes in all textures, forms, tastes, and sounds. Sip your drink of choice and jot down how it feels and where it takes you. Bite into your favorite food and record what happens from moments before, to the explosion of flavor. Circling back to listening to music; let the tunes take you on a journey throughout another’s story. When you’re diving into one of your senses, create a story behind each experience. If you’re using sight to take in a painting, what is the story behind it? What is happening in the old photograph you picked up? Who are the characters? Asking yourself these questions will promote creativity and will (hopefully) help you in overcoming your writer’s block.