10 Tips to Combat Writer's Block
I'll be the first to admit I struggle with writer's block. I don't keep a consistent schedule because right now it's not possible. When I really want to write, sometimes I don't have the energy, so I don't. My writer's soul is screaming, "Put something down on paper, please!" My head is mumbling, "You just finished working a 9-5, you still have to make dinner, and then you want to work more?"
I've beat myself up plenty of times for not sitting down to do something I love. Let's be real, it's going to happen. We're human and we make decisions we later regret. All you can do is pick yourself back up, move forward, and try again.
There are many tips out there on how to combat writer's block, so I'm just going to give you my favorites.
Implement a Writing Schedule
This is one I plan to implement when I’m not stuck in another job. I think it's super important, otherwise, you will never get anything done. Watching just one more show on Netflix is easy to do when your writing isn't a priority.
Don't Be Too Hard on Yourself It's easy to get caught up in what you didn't do correctly or should have done better. Take one day at a time, heck, take one hour at a time if you need it. And if you end up binge watching New Girl or devouring ten chapters of the latest book you're reading, don't stress. There's another day tomorrow to try again.
Think of Writing as a Regular Job
This relates to implementing a schedule. Yes, our writing is a craft and an art. I won't disagree with you. As Stephen King so eloquently put it in his book On Writing, we need to intentionally think of ourselves as laborers. We're putting words on a page creating stories like a bricklayer puts down bricks and mortar.
Take Time Off If You're Just Finished a Project
Sometimes idleness can be a key part of the creative process. Read a book for the sake of reading and don't try to analyze the text. Go outside and gather new experiences or just listen to the sound of torrential rain hitting the roof. Often the simplest distractions can be the biggest kick start to a wildfire of ideas.
Set Deadlines and Keep Them Life gets in the way. I know this concept well, but if you don't have deadlines and goals you're working towards, you'll never get anywhere. If this is difficult for you, find an accountability partner. Knowing that someone is looking for an update will spur you into action.
Look for Distractions and Remove Them This is fairly obvious. The more distractions you have, the less you will accomplish. Find the space the works for you to get the job done. I prefer clean spaces and cannot get anything done if dishes are piled in the sink. Unplug the television, silence your phone, and hide that awesome book you just started (you can read that on your break).
Try Writing Exercises
This one has helped me in the past. When I'm stuck I pull out a book of writing prompts and try some of them. Imaging new characters and situations on the spot is a brainstorming miracle producer. Don't get hung up on one prompt and then berate yourself for not being able to get something written. Move on to the next prompt, because maybe your brain couldn't handle writing about a tyrannical king when all you wanted to do was jot down a love story.
Write Outside of Your Normal I picked this idea up when I began to write copy. I'm a creative writer, but writing copy is another ball game. Conveying information while not sounding like a complete bore isn't easy. Pick a company and write scripts for a radio commercial. I think you'll be surprised how that can get your creative juices flowing.
Work on Multiple Projects at a Time This one for me keeps boredom at bay. I love working on my book, but sometimes I need something else. It's okay to bounce around. The creative police are not going to show up at your door demanding you work on one project at a time. Just don't get so caught up in so many projects that you lose sight of your important goals.
Remember Why You Started Writing in the First Place Write is a labor of love. When writing is fun, that's when it will delight you the most, and your readers will notice. Really, writing is too much to do it for anything other than love. If you continue to remember the joy it brings you, it will sustain you through the writer's block and whatever other adventures you want to jot down with pen and paper.