Writer’s block is known to be a career killer to many aspiring writers, and unfortunately, anything can cause it. If you’ve read 4 Signs You May Have Writer’s Block, then you should be able to determine whether it’s hit you yet.
Fortunately for you, I’ve been in a constant battle with it, and I’ve had time to come up with great ways to making sure it’s been kicked to the curb! Now, what I’m about to share with you may or may not work for you, but it doesn’t hurt to try it. And you’ll find that these steps are so stupidly easy you won’t have to go out and buy a book to help your creative juices.
Full disclosure, writer’s block makes a profit, and I’ve fallen for the scheme of buying a “Writing a novel for dummies” book to help me get past this issue. Here’s a little secret – it didn’t help. So, to prevent you from making the same mistake I did, I’ve decided to share what I learned with you for free!
I will be honest, though, when you learn these 4 steps, you’re going to kick yourself. It’s honestly not something you would think would help, or in some instances, it’s not something you even think of doing. I’ve discussed writer’s block with other author’s and how they deal with this themselves, and each story I get is different. This is how I overcome it and I hope it helps you!
Step 1: Eliminate Distractions
This requires you to identify what is causing your writer’s block and removing yourself, or it, from the situation entirely! For me, what I had thought helped me to write, didn’t.
We live in a digital age where literally every device we own is a distraction, so this is a challenge. Typically, when I find my mind wandering and my focus wavering, I immediately think to turn to the internet for help, but social media has become a major influence in our lives that it’s only typical for it to also be another obstacle for writer’s to face. It has become the cornerstone for socializing and our core for connection with our loved ones. Think about it. What’s the first thing you do in the morning? For me, I immediately check my profiles, and I’ve done it so much it’s become as natural as the air we breathe; a habit whenever I reach for any device I have.
When I realized this was part of the problem, separating myself from my phone and laptop was incredibly difficult. How was I supposed to work without my tools? It hit me. I grew up where cell phones were just hitting the market and computers weren’t as common as the television, so how did I survive when it was a luxury only the 1% owned [at that time]?
I kept a journal!
Pen and paper is outdated with tablets and stylus’, but bullet journals are slowly bringing back a time where our planners were kept in a physical notebook. Experiencing distractions? Spend some time designing a page in your bullet journal, and then detail out your project – away from your devices!
Away from your phone? The horror!
Yes. Put your phone in Do not Disturb mode, your laptop in sleep, and put them both in another room, away from you. Then sit down in a place that inspires you, and get to work!
Step 2: Walk Away
Sometimes removing your devices doesn’t always solve the issue, and that’s because everything is a distraction. So to prevent yourself from becoming overworked and stressed, walk away and take a break.
Stress is often the number one cause of writer’s block or procrastination. If this is true for you, a simple break will cause no harm. There have been times where I’ve had trouble pulling myself away for fear that if I return I won’t have the same energy or flow that I did before I left. Don’t let the doubts win! You’re brain is probably overworked and it’s time to do something that will allow it to rest.
Take a walk, a drive, or a nap to restore your energy. If you’re worried about not returning, set a timer to go off to remind you it’s time to get back in the bullpen. Jot down notes whenever inspiration strikes. When there’s a will, there’s a way.
Step 3: Distract
I bet you’re thinking, “Crystal, you’re nuts. You just said eliminate distractions! Now your telling me to distract myself?”
Yes! I am!
Sometimes distraction is necessary to overcome writer’s block, but I really only recommend this if you actually listen to step two.
Distraction isn’t always a bad thing – allowing your mind to wander can be useful and hypnotic, especially when the pressure is on. If your project is too boring, too difficult, too frustrating, too unstructured, has no meaning or no reward, then I suggest you follow these distractions…
- Challenge yourself by taking on some writing prompts. You can easily look some up by searching google. I can almost guarantee that once you tackle a thing, you’ll eventually get inspired to take on your project once again! A good place to start is the Writer’s Digest, they always have something going on.
- Attempt to come up with a milestone system. It is entirely possible that the reason you’re struggling is because you are looking at the project as a whole. I know something like that has overwhelmed me in the past. A milestone system works great! Start by setting the bar low–reach 500 or 1,000 words and treat yourself to your favorite desert, TV show, or fun pastime!
- I know this will sound weird, but stand in the shower. I honestly can’t tell you how many times I’ve come up with some great ideas while I’ve bathed! The shower, oddly enough, is a great source of inspiration! And, it’s soothing too.
- Doodle…no really, doodle in a notebook! It sounds like a step out of high school, but messing around in a sketch book or notebook is a fun way to create interesting ideas. Remember bullet journals? And if a notebook isn’t for you, try using Pinterest and creating a story board!
Step 4: Plan, Plan, Execute
If steps one through three have worked, try hitting the books again! There’s no shame in admitting failure, but the one thing you always have to remember is to get back up and try again!
Have a game plan before attempting your next project and always go in with a positive “I can do this” mind set! Success means reward (make sure you give yourself a reward), but failure does not mean punishment! It’s merely one step closer to your ultimate goal.
Always remember, my friend, do what you love, let your passion be the fire that drives you, because there is no greater reward than the satisfaction of knowing that you have accomplished your dream!
It doesn’t matter if you’ve published or not, all that matters is that you are trying, and that is what counts!
What helps you overcome writer’s block? What works for one person, may help another. There isn’t really a wrong answer when dealing with this. Share your experience below!