So, you’re sat at your desk, staring at a blank screen. Your fingers are poised, ready to type, but your mind is blank too. Whether you have a to-do list that’s longer than your arm, or you’re trying to write another chapter of your novel, writer’s block gets us all.
As well as frustrating, it can be mentally heavy, especially when your work and income revolves around you writing and being creative.
But don’t worry, although writer’s block sucks, there are ways to overcome it! Below, I’ll take you on a reveal-all tour of how I overcome writer’s block and get the words freed up and flying again.
What’s causing the block?
As my grandmother-in-law would say, everything feels awful when it’s chock-a-block.
So, if your mind is chock-a-block and you’re feeling well… blocked creatively, then have a little think about what’s got you feeling this way. Are you tired, hungry… hangry? Once you’ve identified what’s bugging you, try to fix it.
Move your body
Being stubborn and sticking with something can benefit us and sometimes, it really is cutting your nose off to spite your face.
When we’re so determined to stay put and write and not move until we’ve written something amazing, and it’s just not coming, being stubborn and pushing through when you’re struggling really is just cutting off your nose. It sounds counterintuitive, but the best way I’ve found to break this is by going for a walk or even just having a tiny kitchen dance whilst you put the kettle on.
If I want to really shake things up, I might go for a walk along the seafront (perks of coastal living). Basically, get some fresh air in your lungs and try again.
The self-care edit
Self-care isn’t just a vibe, babe. You deserve to be well and look after yourself.
If you’re struggling to access your creativity and you’re feeling blocked up regularly, it’s time to ask yourself: is this is an ongoing issue, are you taking care of yourself? Sleeping enough? Eating well? Feeling generally good? When we’re overwhelmed, burnt out or wrung out, we’re never going to do our best work.
Self-care can be anything from making sure we’re eating and sleeping well, getting out and taking care of ourselves. Or pop on a face mask, pour a glass of wine and send everyone else to bed.
All the world’s a stage
Someone very wise once told me that all of life is inspiration. The time they spend playing games, reading, watching telly, or with friends and family inspires their creative energy and flow.
So, if you’re struggling and the words just won’t come, why not try something new? Pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read, pop on some Netflix or go for coffee with a friend – or alone. Sometimes, just changing your environment for an afternoon can help. So if you typically write at home, why not pop out to a coffee shop?
Try something new
When was the last time you mixed up your writing style? Wrote a little poem, or even just practised free writing with a pen and bit of paper?
If you’re not getting the words out, why not experiment with different styles and topics to get your creative juices flowing?
Some of us need to be free to create. You know, take our bras off, sink into a chair and tie our hair up. But some of us really thrive with goals and structure. If this is you, why not create you own rules and limits?
Set a time limit for writing each day. This could be for an hour or two after lunch. If you find it helpful to break up your day, make that into part of your routine every week and optimise this bit of structured fun time. In fact, research has shown that shorter blocks of work are more beneficial for creativity.
Many friends of mine swear by the Pomodoro Technique of 25-minute stints of working, followed by a short break. I naturally do this by being unable to leave my phone alone for more than 15-20 minutes at a time…
Don’t force it
If it’s not working today, bench it. Forcing writing hardly ever works for me, and if you’re feeling creatively burnt out, then take a break to recover.
This advice isn’t even really specific to writer’s block, it’s pretty much anything that isn’t working for you. If you’ve looked at it from all angles and you just can’t get onboard, if you can, put it down and come back to it.
Writer’s block prompts
If you’re stuck for ideas, why not try writing about these prompts?
Write about your most embarrassing moment
Write about a secret from when you were a child
Describe your favourite cooking utensil – in all its detailed glory
Imagine you’re lying on a desert island; what does it look like?
Write about your typical Monday
If writer’s block absolutely derails you, or you just hate writing full stop, why not see how we can work together? Find out more about what I do here.