Writer’s block is a problem that even the most experienced writers get at one point or another. You have a clear goal of what you want to write and may even have a few ideas for reaching your goal. However, you just can’t seem to start writing or expand your ideas into a coherent form.
Sometimes, you’re stuck at the very beginning and can’t seem to get started even though you intended on being productive. Fortunately, there are many easy ways to overcome this problem. Here are five tips that will help out even the worst cases of writer’s block.
5 Effective Tips on Overcoming Writer’s Block
Tip #1: Free Write
According to the University of Illinois, one of the biggest reasons people get writer’s block is because they get too judgmental about their own writing. Instead of writing to establish talking points, ideas and get into the flow of things, they focus on writing the perfect piece.
To get over this obstacle, start free writing. Write whatever you want to write about without judging the quality of your work. This will help you get into a creative state and get you into a creative headspace. You have to remember that you can always start over when you’ve gotten on the right track or edit out the bad stuff later.
Tip #2: Ask Leading Questions
The trick to getting into the flow of things when you have writer’s block is to ask a series of leading questions. Start with the most obvious question – “what am I writing about?”
Then, ask questions like “why is the topic important?” and “what new perspective can I add to this topic?” This will help you open up your introduction and get you into the flow of what you’re trying to write about.
If you’ve already started writing and you’re stuck somewhere in the middle, then you can use questions like “so what?” and “what else?” to expand on the topic points you’ve already established.
Keep continuing with the “so what?” question until you’ve written everything you can possibly write about that talking point. Then, use the “what else?” question to talk about go into other talking points or approach another perspective on the established talking point.
Tip #3: Plan the Structure Beforehand
While many writers just go with the flow with their writing, it’s often a better idea to plan the structure before you begin. Jot down ideas on what you can cover in the introduction, body, and conclusion.
Break down the introduction by writing down the core ideas you want to introduce to the reader and expand on later. Then, lay out the ideas in the body and expand on each of them so you can have various points to write about.
Planning everything beforehand will allow you to avoid writer’s block. There won’t be that pressure of coming up with the right words, sentences, and ideas on the fly.
You may feel like this can inhibit your creativity, but you don’t have to expand too much on the structure if you don’t want to. You can just write a few key words in each section that you can use to jump off from when you get stuck.
Tip #4: Take Inspiration from Other Written Works
If your writer’s block is so bad that you can’t even jot down ideas and topics you can cover, then the best thing you can do is to seek inspiration from other content.
Use the search engines to look for articles, podcasts, and videos on the topic you’re writing about. Take some time to go through the content and think about how other content creators have approached the topic.
Naturally, you’ll start getting some light bulb moments for your article. And before you know it, your writer’s block will have all but disappeared. It’s important to note that the content doesn’t necessarily have to be a different version of what you’re trying to write about.
It can be related to your topic, an opposition of your stance on the topic or simply a piece that is structured in the way that you want to write your article to look like.
Tip #5: Take a Break and Work on Something Else
If you’ve been writing for a couple of hours and suddenly found yourself with a bad case of writer’s block, it’s probably because you’ve over-exhausted yourself. In this scenario, Life Hack writes that the best thing you can do is to walk away and do something else.
Try vacuuming your living room, doing the dishes, watching a short video or organizing your desk. Some people even overcome their writer’s block by working on a different writing project (though this may not be ideal if you suffer from a writing burnout).
You’ll be surprised by how many times you get hit with an idea out of the blue. This phenomenon happens because you already programmed your brain to come up with an idea for your piece. Maybe your conscious mind is focused on something else. Still, your subconscious mind will work for you behind the scenes.
What Causes Writer’s Block?
There are three main factors that can cause a writer’s block: timing, fear, and perfectionism. Some people might struggle with expressing their ideas through writing.
If this is the case, wait a little while, until you can arrange your thoughts in a more coherent order. Other writers are afraid of receiving harsh critique. Don’t wait until it seems perfect. Start writing now! Taking action feels a lot better than having regrets.
Putting It All Together
By following these five easy tips, you’ll be able to overcome your writer’s block. Instead of using these tips randomly, think about why you have writer’s block. Then, use the tip that seems most appropriate to resolving the issue that created it in the first place.