You sit down at your desk, open your laptop to get started with an amazing article and you patiently wait for inspiration but there’s nothing. You wait a couple more minutes but you find yourself staring at a blank page. And panic starts to set in as you realise you have a deadline to meet but have nothing to write about. If you have ever experienced this you may be experiencing writer’s block. And you may just want to throw in the towel. But don’t worry, writer’s block happens to even the most experienced, well-known writers in the industry.
Causes of writer’s block:
This four letter word paralyses most writers and stops them from writing their best work. You may fear the criticism of others and this may stop your creative juices from flowing. Any creative artist will tell you that whatever work they put out, they put their heart and soul into. And sometimes blood, sweat and tears, too. You may have lost your confidence because of your last failed attempt. But you can’t lick your wounds for too long, you need to dust yourself off and try again.
If you’re under a lot of pressure and stress you may not be able to produce your best work and come up with creative ideas. You need to let go of the anxiety and relax whether it’s by doing a few stretches or just grabbing a stress ball.
You may be like Goldilocks and need everything to be perfect and just right. You could write a few sentences and then delete them and the process could go on hours. Trying to be perfect can stop your creative flow. If you edit your work too soon you can spend the whole day with a blank page. Jot down a few paragraphs and then tweak your work when you’re done.
Here are a few ways to overcome writer’s block.
Find the time which suits you
Some people are early birds while others are night owls. You need to pick the time of day which best suits you when you’re the most alert and productive. And you need to make sure you use this time effectively. Don’t go on social media or pick that time to make a quick snack. Make the most of this time and you’ll get enough work done.
Let go of the familiar
Most people are drawn to the familiar and never try new things. But you should seek out new experiences. Sometimes inspiration in life comes from the strangest places. But in order to get out of your rut, you may need to explore new things. You could buy different book types and genres which you wouldn’t normally read. If you’re always drawn to biographies try switching it up to fiction. And do the same when picking out movies and music.
Have random conversations with people at the bus stop or grocery store. You never know, some idea may pop up which can help you write your best work. Shonda Rhimes, the writer and creator of Grey’s Anatomy, said she became overworked and burnt out after years of working hard. And she didn’t find writing fun anymore. But she said she got her inspiration back after spending time playing with her children. Sometimes you need to do different things in order to get those words flowing.
Find a physical activity
The more you focus on the ideas that won’t come, the more stressed out you’ll be. In order to rectify this problem, why don’t you get out the office or your house and get some exercise? You could go for a walk outside or go to the gym for a good workout. Exercise will help get the blood flowing and boost your creativity. Sometimes your brain needs to just to recharge. Professor Lorenza Colzato, a cognitive psychologist of Leiden University, found that those who exercised on a regular basis were more creative than those who didn’t.
Revisit the past
Read through some of your best work. When you see the articles or blog posts which you’ve written well in the past, it’ll give you a confidence boost. And it will remind you that you’re capable and you have it within you to write quality, inspiring work.
Take time out by going on a vacation. Whether you land up under a palm tree or at your grandma’s house, a break may just what you need. Taking time out and forgetting about your day to day responsibilities can make a huge difference. A vacation will allow you to relax and rejuvenate. Make sure you don’t bring your work with you as this could stress you. Let go and take some “me time” to just enjoy yourself.
If you’re really struggling with putting sentences together and creating a masterpiece, then why don’t you head to a seminar? You’ll get tips and guidelines on how best to deal with these roadblocks. And you could learn other techniques too, whether it’s report writing skills or just ways to improve your writing.
Blank page syndrome is every writer’s nightmare. You want to write but the ideas won’t come. It could be that you’re tired, stressed or just a perfectionist. You need to figure out what your trigger is and then find a solution which best suits you. The solution could be as small as taking a walk outside or as big as buying a ticket to a faraway destination.