Even the most seasoned writers experience writer’s block. Let’s face it: there is nothing worse than not being able to put the pedal to the metal and reimagine what was so awe-inspiring in your head on actual paper. It’s a sporadic and nightmarish experience that every writer dreads. I can’t promise you a definitive cure, but I can share with you my personal tips on easing yourself out of it.
Read it aloud
It’s an age-old trick: start from the beginning and read your work out loud. Being able to listen to your own writing is key to knowing what your work will sound like to others; plus, it gives you fresh perspective. I’ve often found inspiration in my own writing just by listening to it. It also helps to pick up on mistakes you may have missed or to spot a potential gap in your writing where a new idea could breathe life into your work.
Change your environment
I’m lucky to be a remote worker, which allows me to work from anywhere and leaves me unconfined. While not everyone can hop onto a plane and fly off to the nearest palm-fringed beach for inspiration, a change of scenery is weirdly wonderful and can help to get yourself out of the writer’s block funk. Moving from your desk to the office meeting room, or from your home office to your outdoor garden does wonders for your mental state and has a positive influence on your writing.
Read something else and do your research
Take a break from your own writing and read someone else’s! It may sound strange, but I sometimes pick up a copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul and read a short story that gives me new insight and leaves me feeling stimulated. Doing your research helps too! If you’re left with a topic you have no idea about, do your research to get the ball rolling.
Leave titles and headings until the end
I remember being in school and always being taught to start with my heading. I would immediately catapult into a state of mental panic because I would lose all my ideas—and a lot of my time—trying to work on the perfect title. Besides, not everyone can imagine the title of their writing piece before they’ve written it. Start writing and let the words flow, then go over your work and name it at the end. This way, you also get to ensure that your headings and titles are coherent with your writing.
Opt for free-writing
Stop focusing on every single word that flows from your pen (or your keyboard). Just write. Allow your ideas to flow onto paper and worry about grammatical or spelling errors when you’ve completed your draft. This is extremely relaxation-inducing—and stress can lead to writer’s block—so don’t sweat the small stuff until the end.
Leave self-doubt behind
You know how the saying goes: you are your worst critic. Believe me, I sure am mine. Don’t allow self-criticism to bring your writing to a screeching halt. While I’m not saying you should completely ignore Criticising Carry on your shoulder, it’s a good idea to find a balance and move forward.
I hope that these tips will help you to overcome writer’s block, but more so, I hope you never get to experience it at all. Happy writing!