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Strategies to defeat writer’s block

Updated on March 30, 2019
erinshelby profile image

Erin Shelby knows the challenges adult college students face. She also writes about frugal living and spirituality.

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Writer’s block is the bane of many a writer whether professional, student or hobbyist. Here are some practical strategies you may not have heard to get you back on track and defeat writer’s block.

Try a Change of Scenery

Instead of sticking to your usual spot, try working in a location that you normally would not work in. Always do you work at your desk? Try working in the library. Always work at home? Try going to the library instead. Have a dedicated spot at home inside where you work? Make sure it's well-lit. You could even try taking your laptop outside if the weather allows. The fresh air and quiet outside (or even the sound of birds chirping) might give you a new perspective. A new perspective can help you clear your mind or free thoughts and ideas you didn't realize you had. Challenge yourself to find a new location that is quiet and distraction-free whether it’s your kitchen table or corner of your attic.

Try a Change in Task

Do something repetitive that requires no thought and that is not related to writing. Choose something that requires your body to work such as washing dishes, folding towels, vacuuming, washing windows or dusting. Sometimes moving away from a problem for a few minutes allows the mind to get a different perspective – it’s almost as if the pieces of the puzzle come together without us consciously being aware that our minds are working on it.

Tune Out Distractions

Turn off your cell phone. Disconnect from the internet unless it is absolutely necessary for the writing assignment you are working on. It is too easy to get distracted by music, email, news websites and games that will block your creativity and mental flow. If your web service requires a metal plug connected to the wall, unplug it. Even small amounts of diversions can create a block and cause a difficulty in re-focusing. Consider the internet as a vacuum that will eat your time as much as you let it.

Work With a Pen, Not a Keyboard

For the most persistent case of writer’s block, taking a pen and paper in hand and scribbling out ideas can liberate the mind. Something almost magical occurs when raw ideas are unleashed onto paper into their most primitive form. When it’s in this stage and a writer is not judgmental about his or her own ideas, great things can happen. Writers at all levels – whether students or professionals – get stuck staring at a blank computer screen but using a pen and paper to write down basic words related to a potential topic can get the ideas flowing. Try this approach in your most desperate moments and it is likely you will gain ground.

Found a Topic?

Have you decided on a topic, but clueless about how to proceed? Try using the five-paragraph essay format and modify it according to the needs of your audience.

When do you struggle with writing?

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© 2013 erinshelby

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    • erinshelby profile imageAUTHOR

      erinshelby 

      8 months ago from United States

      We truly can be our own worst critics. Good point, Lori!

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      8 months ago from Pacific Northwest

      Writers block is so frustrating. Mine usually stems from insecurity or not being sure where to go next in the story. Good tips.

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