As the world gets covered by a fluffy layer of snow and as the sunny days become distant memories, I have trouble putting my thoughts down onto paper. In other words, I get writer’s block. My favorite past time becomes a tedious chore. I just feel like my productivity drops down to the lowest level possible during these cold months. During times like these, I find myself almost giving up on writing. However, over the years I have developed certain tricks of the trade that help me get over that winter slump, which I would love to share with everyone else who struggle laying down their thoughts on paper. Here are ten ways you can knock out writer’s block and win another battle with this dreaded enemy.
- Free write
Write about anything. Jot down the first thing that comes to mind. It’s almost like an impromptu speech that you are forced to do at a family event where you thought you would not even be noticed. Even if there is nothing you want to write about, try to put words down on the paper. If all you could think about is school, or finances, or family problems, then write about that. You don’t have to write in any particular form, it can be a letter to a long gone celebrity or a favorite author or even a haiku. It doesn’t matter if the topic seems boring, as long as you are putting your thoughts down on paper, you are going in the right direction.
- Read a book
Get inspired by picking up a favorite novel. The written word makes my thoughts wonder. I can get so worked up and lost in my thoughts when reading that my eyes can skip over whole pages without realizing it and I have to go back and re-read everything. At times like these, it is always handy to have something like a notebook lying around to jot down those brand new ideas. Create an imaginary dialogue with the author, what would they say back to you when you agree/disagree with their ideas? Inspiring ideas are everywhere floating about; they just need to be caught at the right moment.
- Create a routine
The majority of writers will tell you that the best way to battle writer’s block is to just power through it. Create a routine, force yourself to sit down and write a set number of words. Your mind will be in writing mode soon enough once you get into the habit of it. Even if at first you have to delete half (or more) of what you’ve written, you are still being productive and not wallowing in misery at the absence of ideas.
- Use a pen and paper
In this world of technology, we sometimes get lost in the hectic mess of it all. Unplug, turn the computer off and pick up the good old notebook and funky pen. It’s time to put to use all those cute stationery sets that we splurged on just because it looked good in the store display. Doodle, don’t let the blank page stare right at you. Blank pages can sometimes be intimidating. Jot down ideas in the margins, create a little timeline for your piece and just focus on putting ink to paper.
- Just listen to the world and visualize
Some people get inspired by music, others are inspired by the sound of the rain splashing and pattering on the windows. If you are inspired by a particular sound there are more than enough apps or websites out there that could help soothe you. The key here is to visualize. Daydreaming is important for creative individuals. A lot of us get too preoccupied with our busy routines to notice the world around us and to focus on what our inner world is missing.
- Try writing something that you have never written before
If you’re a poet, try an essay. If you are a flowery writer who loves to stretch out each and every sentence, try a research topic that requires less writing techniques. Changing the environment can help stimulate thoughts. Or better yet, do something that is out of your comfort zone altogether and write about the experience. Have you ever thought about skipping work to catch the next bus to that remote little town just outside of where you live? If so, do that! Do something crazy that you will be talking about for years. The outcomes will be surprising!
- Don’t worry about criticism
A huge mental block for a writer can come from fear of being rejected. Let’s face it, no one actually likes being rejected, the feeling can be remotely compared to a kick in the stomach. But at the end of the day, you can’t satisfy everyone in the world with your writing. If you generate any type of discussion, good or bad, that is already a good sign. If you have developed a unique voice that genuinely touches a person that means you have developed your very own style of writing. There are people who like Emily Bronte for her gothic novel but hate Jane Austen for creating picture perfect happy endings. That definitely does not mean one writer is superior to the other. We all have different tastes and it takes time to find the right audience.
Writer’s block is a dreaded nemesis that all creative individuals will encounter. We all get a bit uninspired as life become too much of a routine and nothing seems to be lifting our spirits up anymore. Artistic individuals just need a little push in the right direction to overcome this hump, the rest will follow suit.
Feature Image via Anthropologie.