Posted on Feb 07, 2021
By Peter Wyn Mosey
Peter Wyn Mosey is a participant of People Speak Up Projects, including Story Care and Share and Spoken Word Saturday.
If you’ve been affected by writer’s block, you’ll know that it’s no fun. It can prevent you from getting anything written for days, weeks, or even months. But just because you have hit a creative brick wall, doesn’t mean you have to give up.
There are many simple and practical ways that you can go about overcoming writer’s block. Many of these suggestions require little or no effort at all.
So, what can you do to help yourself regain your creative spark? I asked some writers what they do to cure their creative blocks and the responses were very helpful.
In this article, we’ll look at fifteen different ways that you can kickstart your creativity and overcome the mental hurdles preventing you from putting pen-to-paper.
Writer’s block is any mental block that stalls the writing process. It can be short-lived, or it could be something that lasts for a long period of time.
It could involve you being very critical of yourself, comparing yourself to other writers, or it could be down to a lack of motivation to write. You may even have writer’s block if you lack the time to sit down and really let your creative juices flow.
Writer’s block comes from a feeling of dissatisfaction with the writing process. Fortunately, writer’s block is not a permanent state. Let’s delve into some top tips for getting over your temporary block.
1. Go for a Walk
Staring at a blank page not getting you anywhere? If so, it might be time to down tools for a little while and head outside for a walk.
Walking helps create endorphins which helps you fight stress. You’ll feel more relaxed. Then, when you head back to your writing desk you may have cleared your mind of all of the clutter that was clouding your creativity.
Being close to nature might help inspire you too. Sometimes some fresh air and time away from the page or screen are exactly what is needed to get into a better mindset.
2. Write Anything
Sometimes one of the best ways to overcome writer’s block is to just write! Even if you are writing rubbish, you’ll at least be engaging the part of your brain that is stuck.
Even if you are not feeling creative, you might find that forcing yourself to write something could give you the starting point for something better.
Write anything at all, then, the following day, come back to it with a fresh pair of eyes and see if there is anything that you can take from it.
3. Don't Edit Anything Until the End
If you spend all of your time re-reading something that you’ve written, you’ll get bogged down in becoming self-critical. Beware of this habit as it will lead to writer’s block.
Resist the urge to edit things as you go. Instead, wait until you have finished writing the entire piece and then edit it.
Editing uses a different type of thought process in comparison to writing. By switching between writing and editing, you’ll be changing the mode that your brain is in. Being over-critical and analysing everything that you write is not conducive to being creative.
4. Sleep On It
If you’ve written something that you’re really not feeling, this can be quite disheartening. You can look at the page repeatedly and try and find ways to make it right, but often you can’t seem to see the woods for the trees.
Put the pen down or close the lid of your laptop and sleep on what you have tried to write. When you come back to it with a fresh mind, you might see something new there.
When re-reading your own work, try and view it as though someone else has written it. This way, you’ll feel less emotionally attached to it.
5. Try Freewriting
Freewriting is a great way to shut down your inner censor. The idea behind freewriting is that you put down your thoughts as they materialise. This should be done without thinking about how they are written or even the quality of your grammar.
Writing in a stream of consciousness can get you through to the other end.
6. Use Writing Prompts
Stuck for inspiration? Why not use writing prompts to help you to find the inspiration that you need? Using a jumping-off point could be just what you need to inspire you.
7. Listen to Music
Tolstoy said that music is the shorthand of emotion. Find your shortcut to your written emotions by listening to some of your favourite tunes. The sound of your favourite music may awaken parts of your brain used for creative thought.
8. Create a Routine
Sitting down every day at the same time and writing will help you to get your writing muscles working well. Having a routine will help you to get into the mindset of writing.
Set yourself a writing target. This could be to write for a certain length of time or to write a specific amount of words. Having this in place will help you keep the momentum up.
9. Use Bullet Points
Often, it can be daunting to start writing something when you know that you’ve got a lot that you need to say. You can be paralysed before you even start.
Use bullet points and break down everything that you want to say. That way, you’ll be able to start expanding on your points in a logical way.
10. Write Down Three Ideas Every Day
Start creating a bank of ideas when you’re not in a creative rut. Then when you are struggling to find inspiration, you’ll have a whole selection of different ideas that you can fall back on.
11. Use Apps
There are plenty of writing apps out there that can help you in overcoming your writer’s block. One example is Squibler. The app sets you a prompt and a timer and demands that you keep writing until the timer runs out.
You’ll be forced to fill the page with words. You never know, you might write something of worth.
12. Engage In Alternate Therapy to Remove the Blocks
If you’re struggling with writer’s block for a long period of time, you may want to look at what might be causing the blocks. There are several alternative therapies you could look at.
Look into the Energy Alignment Method to help you to overcome your blocks.
Another method might be to use your non-dominant hand to do the writing. Then, ask yourself why you are getting blocks and let your pen do the writing.
13. Try People Watching
There is nothing more inspirational than real life. If you’re looking for ideas why not try people watching? Sit down on a bus or in a cafe and imagine the life or situation of someone nearby and you’ll find the basis for a story.
14. Try Meta Writing
Meta-writing means writing about writing. If you are stuck on what to write, why not write around the problem by writing about what you are going to write?
Meta-writing is an excellent way of channelling your thoughts into something more concrete.
15. Join a Writing Group
There are many great benefits to being a part of a writing group and everyone joins them for different reasons. You may benefit from the activities on offer, or you might find a supportive and creative atmosphere to be conducive to helping the muse descend.
Being around like-minded individuals is often helpful when it comes to overcoming writer’s block. You may find help and support from your peers which will be invaluable.
16. Join One of People Speak Up’s Projects
Story Care and Share is currently run via Zoom on a Wednesday morning and Friday evening. Spoken Word Saturday is held every second Saturday of the month.
If you would like to take part in any of the projects run by People Speak Up, or you’d like to find out more, get in touch today.