How to Survive Writer's Block in 3 Easy Steps
What Writers Fear the Most
There may be nothing more horrible for a writer then experiencing a period where their thoughts and mind feel completely empty.
It's a time where the motivation and purpose fade away and you're left staring at a piece of blank paper or an empty Word document. Some writers fear garnering traffic to their pieces and some worry about the technical aspects, but at least those fears are based off of written content. During writer's block there are no written pieces to begin with.
Why do we fear this period so much?
Are we afraid that our writer's edge has been lost, are we fearful that our writing career may be closing, or are we afraid we have nothing left to write about? That fear is a collection of all those questions and when you're writing hundreds if not thousands of articles then eventually you'll fall into this slump.
The good news is that writer's block is usually temporary and eventually the spark, the creative energy, and your motivation as a writer will return. However, it will only return if you really are a writer especially with that motivation concept. Those of us who just write without purpose or without the passion to do so will not regain their motivation to restart.
It's tough to be motivated to do something when you lack the passion and energy to do it. This ideal goes for any job or career that you're a part of. It's very difficult staying motivated just to get up in the morning if you absolutely hate what you do.
Unfortunately not all of us have the luxury to have that dream, financially fulfilling job we desperately seek, but sometimes it's worth sacrificing some of your income for a job you love doing.
For a writer those elements of passion and energy are especially crucial because you're putting in so much of your mind into your writing that it can be absolutely draining without any passion.
As long as you have those elements, passion, energy, and motivation, then you will recover during a slow period in your writing profession.
Step 1: Take a Mental Break
Is a slow period in your writing career necessarily a bad thing...what can you gain during this time and how can it make you a better writer?
One thing you'll gain is the ability to recover.
Like athletes who have to put in the physical work to achieve something, writers put in the mental work to achieve similar goals.
Both our mind and body need a rest from time to time, so if anything, during writer's block writers can take a nice, long break and rest their thoughts. In fact when you know you are experiencing such a period, then don't try to push yourself too much because it may have adverse effects.
Again think of a writer as an athlete who pushes themselves too far to the point where they can injure themselves and potentially delay or ruin their career. The mind cannot be pushed to the brink because it could be detrimental to not only your writing career but your everyday life. It's okay to take a break every once in a while though I realize that can be difficult for some.
Writers often have to meet specific deadlines or else they're out of a job, and it can be a lethal combination if your mind draws a blank and you need to finish multiple articles in under a day or so. Under such pressure you can't just take a break because it may technically and realistically be impossible to do so.
In those extreme cases even taking an hour to recharge could help a lot. If you don't even have an hour then as soon as you finish writing I would recommend taking that break.
Breaks are necessary even if you aren't experiencing writer's block because they can give you time to explore new ideas or relax your thoughts. If you take frequent mental breaks, then it may actually help prevent you from experiencing cases of writer's block.
Step 2: Use Your Environment to Create New Ideas
The biggest thing you can gain during writer's block is a revitalization of ideas.
A lot of the things we write about come from the environment around us and as a new writer you'd be surprised what hidden gems you can discover in the real world.
Places such as your work environment, the people you see, the people you meet, your outside surroundings, or even minor, subtle things you notice could provide a great deal of inspiration for written art.
The word inspiration is such a key element to writers that it's the most fundamental aspect that unites all writers no matter what their writing expertise is. What inspires you can lay a foundation that you can bounce topics off of and inspiration arrives from the simple.
When you're staring at a blank screen, completely lost take a break and go somewhere. You can take a walk, talk to someone, go get something to eat, go shopping, and anything else that you normally do. It's the smallest things you do as a writer that can help push you over the hump. As a writer, I'm amazed sometimes at the simplest things that inspires me.
One of the them were the things my preschool nieces asked and said. Some might think that listening to a couple of four year old children is nonsense, but you'd be surprised at what the results may be.
It doesn't take a lot to generate new thoughts and ideas for writers, but they have to know what to look for. There are always questions to be asked and answers to be found and no not all answers will be found through Google; isn't that a shock?
People ask unusual questions all the time but their questions are serious and require answers and as a writer you provide the answers.
So next time you're stuck and can't find anything to write about or lack inspiration, go run some errands and keep your eyes, ears, and mind open because there's always something to be discovered.
Step 3: Get a New Job or Hobby
If writer's block is really troubling you and starts impeding on your life, then you may have to step away from the keyboard/notebook for a while and try something else.
This time that "something else" could mean finding another area of interest that can help sustain you.
A lot of writers write part time, as a hobby, or as a side job because it's very difficult to write a masterpiece that everyone will read/traffic. Writing is also very mentally strenuous and can be a very thankless profession, so it's no wonder many writers also have a main job they do during the week.
Other options include going back to school and taking up a class or classes you're really interested in. Those extra classes could be beneficial to anybody including writers because it's an extra skill you can add to your resume. The same applies if you have a main job/s because you'll learn new things and it'll only make your resume stronger.
It can also make your writing career much more successful. The more experience and skills you have as a writer, the greater the potential success. If you have a main job or learn new skills from college courses, then you'll be one step above your competition.
Given how competitive the writing field is any extra skills or achievements you accomplish can push you beyond your colleagues and land you that dream writing job. Writer's block isn't a means to an end rather it's the discovery of another means. In today's world the more you discover about yourself and the more you learn the better the opportunities you'll receive.
If you prefer not to take up college courses or have another job, then I'd suggest you consider volunteer work. Assuming you are financially stable then volunteering can be a great way to boost your writing career. There are a multitude of ideas you can gather from volunteer work during writer's block and if anything you're gaining more life experience.
So there's a lot you can and should do during a dry spell. I realize being stable is very important and sometimes you're going to have to do other things in order to sustain yourself, but these are only a positive because they'll aid you as a writer.
You must keep in mind that even if you're doing all these different things that you must get back to writing if that's what you want to do. Don't get sucked into secondary outlets because you may never return from them unless you discover new happiness and success from them.
If you only do them as a way to live, then you can't let them overtake what you originally loved to do if you're a writer. There has to be a way to get back on the saddle and restart your writing spark. This time, however, you'll have a boatload of life experiences and skills to push you further than ever before.