Battling Writer's Block
Writer’s block can be like a sickness. It has been described by psychologists and studied in a professional manner. It can involve lacking original ideas, or even the inability to produce new work for years. Almost all writers encounter writer’s block to some degree at some point. The Johns Hopkins Gazette even stated that the famous author F. Scott Fitzgerald described having suffered from the dreaded writer’s block.
Despite living in an action-packed world that is always changing and evolving, it can be easy for many of us to feel as if we’ve hit an invisible wall. Before you grow frustrated and give up on your work, try using some of the strategies from the following list.
One of the most motivating things a writer can do is to read. You can read your own past work and find ways to elaborate on it, or you can draw inspiration from other writers.
Watching a documentary can be a mental vacation from your writing, but it is not a waste of time. Documentaries are generally educational. They give you the opportunity to learn something new, and they can motivate you to want to learn even more. You can use your newly found knowledge as fuel for writing.
Stay on Schedule
Implementing a writing schedule can keep you from procrastinating until you find you are no longer writing. Make it a habit to write a certain amount every day. Pick a number that isn't overwhelming, but also is enough to keep you motivated to do more. William Landay states Graham Greene famously wrote 500 words every morning, five days per week. This may not seem like much, but it has added up to over 30 books!
Change Your Scenery
Staring at a blank screen can make writer’s block even worse; sometimes we just need to step away. Try going outside to soak up some sun. Go to another room, or even for a drive. Go somewhere that will change your setting to wake up your body, and your mind.
Writing a whole paper, article, chapter, or other piece of work can be daunting. Try starting with just your raw ideas. Write down the basic points you would like to talk about. You can begin writing just by deciding what a specific body paragraph will cover. As you build upon that single paragraph you may start to come up with the appropriate introductions, conclusions, and other main ideas. This strategy of writing down raw ideas can be helpful when coming up with a general outline as well.
Not getting enough sleep can really hurt your productivity! The National Sleep Research Project states that 17 hours of wakefulness results in the same decrease in performance as a blood alcohol level of 0.05%. If you need to, take a little cat nap!
If you still feel stuck, check out this video for a wordplay activity: