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How to Bust through a Writer's Block

Updated on January 23, 2012

If you've spent any significant amount of time writing, then you've probably faced a moment or two when nothing comes to mind; no thoughts, no ideas, no words. If you're such a talented writer that you've never experienced a writer's block, then good for you. But for the majority of us out in the world that write, either professionally, for a little extra money, or for fun, motivation and ideas are two things that flow like crests and troughs.

Writing is a difficult thing to do, especially if a lot depends on the quality of the content you produce. Whether it is car payments, rent, food, or extra money to play around with, monetary motivation for writing is often troublesome and very nervewracking.

Now, having gone to school to become a professional putter-of-words-to-paper and spent my whole career writing and reporting, I have a few techniques that I have used to bust through that writer's block. Hopefully they are helpful to you, too.

Change of Enviroment

One of the biggest reasons a writer will begin to stumble when writing is due to boredom. Not that writing is boring, but if you're the type of writer that stays at home and writes everyday in the same environment, looking at the same things, experiencing the same noises, you'll inevitably come to a writer's block.

A change of environment is good, not only for writing. Go to a local coffee shop - maybe try somewhere different than Starbucks - the music in the atmosphere, the different voices you'll hear, the chaotic sounds of caffeine-desiring patrons will evoke new feelings in your body and mind. This will get your juices flowing again. And when your creative juices are flowing, then words will surely follow.

Doodle on a Notepad

Writers often travel with computers, cellphones, cameras, and news sources (papers, magazines, press releases). However, one of the most vital components of my writing arsenal is a notepad. My notepad is used for a million different things - ideas, phone numbers, names, places - but most importantly, to doodle. Doodling is one of the best ways to get your brain working again. Ever noticed how many times a quick drawing will lead to shading; shading will lead to more shapes; and all of a sudden you've got a full drawing in your hands? Well that's because creativity breeds more creativity. That is why I always like to carry my notepad with me. Even before the computer comes out of the bag, the notepad comes first.

Force yourself to Write

Even if you end up writing the same sentence over and over again. Even if you're hitting backspace more often than you're typing letters, one of the keys to breaking a writer's block is forcing yourself to write. By forcing yourself to sit down and think about what you're doing, you're ensuring that your brain is working on only one task - to write. Forget about going for a walk or taking photographs to get your mind off of writing; just write.

I think of it this way: You know that sensation you get when you've got a plate of food in front of you and are struggling to get through it? Well never do you get out of your seat at the restaurant and start chatting to other patrons in order to get your mind off of eating, do you? You just sit there and bare with it and eat - until everything is done. The same goes for writing. Just bare with the writer's block. If you're writing at the moment, you've obviously had some successes with words, so allow your brain to figure itself out.

Now, I don't claim to be an expert in writing or ways to write. But, I have made a career out of writing, and I have, on many occasions, faced a writer's block. Many people think the whole thing is just psychological and some even think it is nonsense. For those of you who have experienced that terrible sensation of not being able to write anything for long periods of time, you know that the block is real. Hopefully the tips above help you get back on track and back writing!


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    • shksha profile image

      Shaheda 5 years ago from Dubai Uae

      Very inspiring and helpful hub going through that phase presently.

    • profile image

      iamaudraleigh 5 years ago

      I found your hub interesting and useful. Writer's block has invaded me! Voted up!

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 5 years ago from SW England

      Informative and useful. I've been writing for ages too and of course the block occurs from time to time. I've found the best thing (one of your ideas too) is to take a note book with you wherever you go. How many times I've come up with an idea and not had paper & pen, then couldn't remember the details when I got home! However, I did think of something in the middle of the night once, wrote it all down on my bedside notebook so that I could relax and go back to sleep - when I woke up I eagerly went to read my notes - absolute gobbledy-gook!! Ah well, better be awake next time.

    • howardyoung profile image

      Howard Young 5 years ago from California

      Today I wrote about 4000 words. Too bad I deleted another 4000. I guess I need to try a few of your tips.