This week has been busy and fairly stressful. I was able to start work again as a marketing assistant at Concordia University Ann Arbor, while also balancing the work I have for my MoxyTech internship that will be coming to an end next week.
Interestingly enough, both of these jobs require a lot of writing. Whether it’s email copy or writing an article or blog, each position gives me a chance to showcase my writing and research skills that I have attained and advanced over the course of my college career. Although I seem to be asked to write a lot and many of the requested topics interest me, there are still an assortment of times when I feel like I’ve hit a wall. No more coherent thoughts enter my brain and I am utterly lost. That’s when I know I’m experiencing some intense writer’s block.
Now I know I’m not the only one who has experienced this tragedy of staring at an empty document with nothing but a title or just the word “TITLE” or “INTRO”. Whether you’re a technical writer, a fiction writer, or simply a student who has to write a paper, here are some strategies I use on a regular basis to work my way out of writer’s block.
Quick reminder: I am not guaranteeing that every solution will work for you, however if you give them a try, there’s nothing to really lose.
- Get outside (or just out of the chair you’re currently in)
Going for a walk (my personal favorite) or doing a quick stretch and walking up and down the stairs gets your blood flowing and moves your mind away from the glowing screen that demands your attention; it can boost your mood as well.
- Change locations (even if it’s just in your own house)
Try working from a different room or a different seat. Stand at the kitchen counter, sit on the floor (my go-to move). A change of scenery might just change the workflow in that stopped-up mind of yours.
- Read other people’s writing
Open a new tab and read the news, an interesting article or pick up a book or magazine. Other author’s will, without a doubt, inspire your own writing even if the genr you read is completely different from what you’ve been asked to write. My favorite type of book to crack open is any sort of poetry book. The current poetry book that I’m reading is Poetry 180 selected by Billy Collins.
- Turn on some tunes
There is rarely a time that I don’t have music playing in my life. I have a playlist for everything from showering to cooking to driving to working. Open up YouTube, click a playlist on Spotify, or select an album on Apple Music. Whatever you do, try your best to pick music that you’re not super familiar with or you’ll be stuck singing along instead of writing (it happens far too often if you’re not careful).
- Be kind to yourself
That void of thoughts taking up residence in your brain will not stay there forever. Everyone experiences writer’s block and in order to overcome it, you need to accept it and keep moving forward. Be patient with yourself and try not to beat yourself up. Better ideas come from an encouraged and positive mind than a resented and unsupported one.
I hope these tips help, but if they don’t, at least you have hopefully gotten out of your chair, maybe exercised, read a book or article, listened to new music and have considered being more gentle to your mind. That, I believe, is a win in itself. Trust me, the block will pass and you’ll be writing in no time. I have to tell myself this truth all the time, even when I don’t believe it.
So tell me, what are some ways that you combat writer’s block?