As a writer, at some point you have encountered the dreaded “writer’s block”. You sit and stare at a blank page or screen, sometimes for hours, in disbelief. You can’t come up with a single thing to write about. As the clock continues to tick, you feel the pressure and frustration building up. What can you do?
First things first, take a step back and ask yourself – am I pushing myself too hard or setting unrealistic goals? You might find that you have put yourself in a situation to fail. If you have decided that you would write for a certain amount of hours a day no matter what, you may find that you start looking at writing as a chore. Your writing will start reflecting that and you can’t put forth your best effort if you are having to force yourself to write. This can also put stress on you and writing when you are under stress can also have a detrimental effect. Think about how hard it is to focus and do things when you are under a lot of pressure. If you want to write and write well, take a step back and assess whether or not you are being unrealistic in your writing expectations.
We’ve all done it, set a goal to write everyday to keep in touch with our writing skills. Writing everyday helps but as much as we might like to spend hours a day writing, it’s this expectation that can contribute to writer’s block. If you are under stress or a lot of demands, write for ten minutes and don’t beat yourself up for only writing for a short time. Instead, realize that you did still meet your goal of writing everyday. Sometimes ten minutes of creating can give you a better story than an hour of staring at a screen trying to fill it with words. Creativity can also come in short bursts!
Sometimes in order to get the creativity flowing again, you need to look around for ideas. Get out of that chair (or wherever you write!) and take a walk or go to the mall and listen to the people around you to get interesting ideas. Look at pictures, listen to the radio, turn on the tv – anything to give you new ideas to think about and maybe write about. Bring a notepad with you and jot down ideas as they come to you. Maybe you overhear a conversation that sounds like a good story or you see some interesting sight that you can develop a story around. Ideas can be all around if you make yourself open and receptive to them.
Go back and reread some your previous writing. You might find that you can come up with an idea from something you have previously written about. Read current articles or books in your genre to see what’s popular and what other people are reading. You might have your own spin on things or have your own ideas of how to tell something.
A lot of writers network with other writers. You can use this opportunity to talk about your difficulties, get feedback and support. Sometimes just knowing that you aren’t alone can do wonders for getting the creativity flowing again. Writing groups can also help you along if you are experiencing writer’s block because you need help with research or have questions on how to do something.
There are lots of ideas out there and lots of stories waiting for you to tell them through your own unique voice. Just take a break, breathe, relax and start writing!