- Books, Literature, and Writing
7 Surefire Ways to Overcome writer's Block
“I don’t feel like writing. What should I do?”
Is there any writer on the earth who hasn’t faced this question?
We all had to face this dreaded question one time or the other.
What is writers block?
Writers block is losing the muse. You feel stuck and no words come to your mind. Even if you write something, you are utterly dissatisfied with what you have written.
You are worried “If I am not satisfied with my content, how could my readers?”
We are desperate to awaken the creative juices.
A popular solution to writer’s block, revealed in movies, is to retreat to a secluded place, usually in snowy, hilly forest, as in the movies “The Shining” and “Secret Window”.
Every writer wants to have the wonder drug that Bradley Cooper had to overcome his writer’s block in the movie “Limitless”.
But there isn't any such wonder drug but inculcating some habits can certainly make you a successful writer.
Let’s look into the issue.
Writers block is of two types.
- Struggling to come up with original ideas.
- You may have ideas, but you feel difficulty in transforming them into a structure.
How to overcome Writers block?
1. Find the reason:
Adverse circumstances in the writer’s life can certainly influence his writing ability.
These can be physical or mental.
Illness, either the writer’s or his family member’s, can have negative impact on the process of writing.
Disorders like depression, break up with the partner, loss of a loved one, financial worries, workplace conflicts (if you are not a full time writer), stress, anxiety etc have undoubtedly have adverse effect.
So, Begin with overcoming these obstacles.
Unless you find the root cause and eliminate them, the external symptoms (writer’s block) can’t be fixed.
If this is done, half of your writers block is solved.
2. Differentiate between procrastination and writer's block:
Every one of us has this habit of procrastination, nobody is an exception.
When you don’t like what you do, you just try to ignore it, avoid it, make it delayed.
Procrastination could be found in many parts of your everyday life.
Writers block is a term applied to the process of writing only.
How do you know whether you have procrastination or writer’s block?
If you are unwilling to do anything including writing, then that could be your procrastination habit or simply laziness.
In that case, first deal with overcoming your procrastination. Writers block is a tiny part of this giant called procrastination.
One simple technique to overcome procrastination is, whenever you are trying to avoid an important task, tell yourself
“This is a lame excuse. This is not real reason. I won’t listen to it.”
3. Become Deaf:
Don’t worry, not literally.
Just ignore what your mind tells you things like ““I don’t feel like writing” etc.
Your mind plays lot of tricks on you.
If you start believing whatever your mind tells you, then you become a slave to your mind.
How do you ignore these?
By practicing compartmentalization.
So, just pay no attention to what you feel and begin writing.
4. Keep the current project aside:
This tip can be useful only when you have “No deadline”.
When you have worked a lot on a writing project, you could have lost all your physical and mental energy on it. Even then If you still try to produce some work the outcome may not be qualitative.
Just keep the project aside and take another project.
You may wonder, “How can I take a new project when I am exhausted?”
here is an example.
When my kids return from school in the evening everyday, they are really tired and no longer willing to complete their homework.
But still they are eager to watch T.V., solve puzzles and play board games (mental activities).
They forget themselves in playing Football, Shuttle and Cricket (physical activities).
What’s the point,
We may feel tired in one field, but still we have energy inside, that can be best used in other field.
The most important thing is, when you return to a project after considerable time, you go through your article with new approach and different perspective.
This can greatly reduce the errors in concept, grammar or coherence in the article.
5. Understand mood swings:
Every human being has emotions.
Being in an emotional state for a certain period of time is “Mood”.
Our writing ability certainly influenced by these mood swings, especially negative moods.
When you are happy you feel like writing, and when you are sad, you brood over that and lose the enthusiasm to write.
Grief, sorrow and pain are whirlpools that pull you into them within no time.
Anger, fear, guilty, shame, jealous, hatred, despair, stress, weariness, all these, have a considerable impact on writing.
What could be the solution?
Either overcome or cope.
How to overcome mood swings?
The best solution would be meditation. This is a proven method to overcome mood swings.
Other solutions are
- Have sound sleep
- Take healthy diet
- Avoid alcohol
- Have physical exercise everyday.
6. Don’t watch T.V:
I did this mistake several times. Whenever I felt I am not enough motivated to write, I simply used to tell myself….
“ I don’t feel like writing. I am not motivated enough. So, I just watch T.V. for few minutes. I may get my motivation back. Then I will resume writing.”
Then I would watch the T.V. for hours. Usually I couldn’t get any ideas. Instead of losing writer’s block I lost my valuable time.
Never watch T.V. to overcome writers block. This may be applied to internet browsing also.
So, avoid them.
If you can’t avoid, a simple thing to do is to take a firm decision, at what time you will stop watching T.V. and resume writing.
Never break this rule.
If necessary keep an electronic reminder.
Or at least tell yourself “I have a movie to watch, I would love to watch the movie. This has nothing to do with my writer’s block “
This honest approach can save you from hiding behind the mask of writers block.
Do you believe going to a secluded place, helps you in overcoming Writer's Block?
7. Forget structure of sentences:
If you feel you have writers block, do not stop and look back what you are writing. Just continue writing.
If you look back, you may find your content not interesting and unsatisfactory. This influences your mood altogether and you may not be able to write anymore.
So, simply go on writing.
Remember the advice of Peter De Vries “write drunk, edit sober”
Write whatever you want, but take necessary care to eliminate junk and rewrite few parts, when you are active.