Whether you’re crafting a blog post, typing up an essay for school, preparing a report for work, drafting an email, or writing anything else, writer’s block sucks. Yes, it sucks so much it bears repeating.
Writing about how much writer’s block sucks (again) doesn’t really accomplish anything though, and as the title of this posts suggests, this isn’t about whining about it. Instead, this post is about working past the block, and finally get some words on paper (or on your screen).
Suck it up
Sometimes, the best way to beat writer’s block is to simply fight it head on. Ignore the editor in your head that corrects and criticizes everything you come up with, and just make sure you get some words and ideas out. Write words, phrases, sentences, or whole paragraphs. If you want, you can just write bullet points instead. The most important thing though, is that you keep writing without reading or reviewing what you just wrote. If you want, you can even switch off your monitor while you type (but needless to say, you have to be a touch typist to do this). When you finally have nothing left in your head, take a break, and when you go back to what you just wrote, only then do you let your inner editor loose.
Whether you call it free writing, stream of consciousness, or whatever fancy term, writing this way usually works if you have a waste basket full of crumpled balls of paper, or if you’re at your computer, you’ve typed something, deleted it, typed something else, deleted that, and kept repeating the cycle. The problem, in this case, is usually an overzealous inner editor; and the solution is to shut him (or her) up while you actually get some work done.
Map it out
The point of the previous exercise is to get ideas out of your head, but it does so in a fairly linear manner. Another way, called mindmapping, does it in a less structured, more convoluted, but still just as effective way.
Start with a blank piece of paper, write your topic in the middle, and draw a circle around it. Now jot down all the other ideas that come to mind. Write a few words or whip up some drawings – just get the thoughts out, and connect these with lines back to your main topic, or with the other ideas on your sheet.
As you jot your ideas down on paper, your sheet might start resembling a jumbled up spider’s web, the roots or branches of a tree, a wheel with several spokes, or anything else your mind can conjure. Keep going, and stop only when you’ve run completely out of ideas. By this time, you’ll probably have a pretty clear idea of what you want to write.
Switch it up
If you normally write on your computer, switch it off and grab a pen and some paper. If you have manual typewriter, you can also grab that instead. If you normally write longhand, try typing instead. The point is to disrupt your writing routine and force your brain to respond to new stimuli and challenges.
Another way you can switch things up is by altering your writing. If you can’t seem to get any momentum going with your blog post, draft some emails instead, or maybe, try writing a poem. If you normally write about a specific topic, like say, technology or finance, change topics and write something personal. Even if you don’t end up using what you just wrote, you can still get some ideas out, and get yourself into a writing mindset.
None of these tips involve getting too far away from your computer, your typewriter, or your pen and paper; we’re saving those tips for another post. On top of this, we’ve only shared three tips here, and we’re sure you have your own methods for beating the block. What are we trying to say? In a nutshell, we want you to chime in. Do you think our tips help? Do you have other methods that you think are more effective? Please tell us in the comments.