A Guide To Overcoming Writer’s Block

Impasse

Writer’s block or blogger’s block happens when you run out of things to post about, and your brain simply refuses to generate new ideas. If you see a blogger staring at blank computer screen, looking puzzled and upset, he’s probably experiencing writer’s block.

If it’s any consolation, it happens to all of us. Even the most prolific and creative bloggers hit creative roadblocks.

Where does writer’s block come from?

It is important to know why we experience writer’s block. There are a number of emotional and physical factors that directly or indirectly contribute to the build-up of writer’s block. So, before you frustrate yourself even more by allowing this condition to get the better of you, you must identify what is causing the block.

Physical factors

You experience writer’s block because:

  • You are overworked and tired.
  • You didn’t get enough sleep.
  • You are hungry, or dehydrated.
  • You are ill.

And so on.

Emotional factors

You experience writer’s block because:

  • You are scared.
  • You are pressured.
  • You are stressed.
  • You are married!

And so on.

How to overcome writer’s block

You can’t overcome writer’s block by simply agonizing about it. Staring at screen and waiting for ideas to pop into your mind won’t work.

Once you have identified the cause of writer’s block, you can take appropriate steps to overcome it.

When I am stressed or tired and need to clear my head to continue working because of a tight deadline, I do any of the following:

  • Take a long walk.
  • Listen to soothing music.
  • Close my eyes, and shut off all kinds of thoughts.
  • Call an old friend and reminisce about the old days.
  • Do something that I enjoy doing.
  • Spend time with relatives/family.

These things work by providing distraction from the continuous stress of work. You can do all that and more when you hit a writer’s block to distract yourself and come back with re-energized brain.

Ways to practically eliminate writer’s block

Look for inspiration

As I emphasized earlier, ideas don’t pop out of nothing. If you want your creative juices to start flowing again, look for inspiration on other blogs. You can take an idea that is already being discussed by your fellow bloggers and put a creative spin on it.

Following technique has always worked for me:

  1. I open up my feed reader and start browsing randomly.
  2. I keep an eye open for anything that might strike me as interesting.
  3. As soon as I read a word or phrase that inspires a new idea, I close the reader.
  4. I now take that idea and start dissecting it into small pieces.
  5. When the dissection is over, I expand on all those pieces and eventually join them together.

In this process I do not forget to look at the pieces from even the most absurd perspectives. This way, I make sure I am putting my own spin on the idea rather than parroting what others have already said.

Write a story

Sometimes it is very difficult to even start off the process of writing. To overcome this annoying obstacle and put the pen in a writing flow, I do something very simple.

I write a story.

Writing a story that you won’t publish is the easiest thing to do. Start from any imaginable place, create and manipulate new characters, and breath a life into your story. It’s ridiculously easy and it works.

If you are not a good story-teller, you can write a detailed log of your day’s activities. Write down what you have been doing since you got up in the morning, and let your brain work on the details. Once you notice that you have developed a writing flow, and it has become easier to put a new color on otherwise mundane details of your day’s routine, you are ready to go back and start writing the real thing!

Conclusion

Writer’s block is the result of fatigue and stress of our hectic lives and our own willingness to let it prevail over us. With a logical approach towards pinpointing the cause of writer’s block and taking steps to overcome it, you are very much on your way to restore your writing fluency.

Do you hit writer’s block often? What do you do to overcome it? Please share your techniques in comments.

Update: I have submitted this post to Problogger’s group writing project. So, let’s see if it gets approved. I am keeping my fingers crossed!

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