There’s some debate whether writer’s block is an actual thing or not. Some believe it’s very real, while others believe it only comes about in people who lack imagination. Well, the truth—in my opinion at least—writer’s block is very real and very annoying.
I will say, though, that writer’s block in my opinion is different from what people generally think about the so-called affliction. Most think writer’s block is when you can’t come up with ideas or can’t start/move a story forward. I don’t think it’s as simple as that.
For me, writer’s block has more to do with lack of motivation or desire to write rather than creativity. Anytime I’ve ever come down with a wicked case of writer’s block, it was during a period where I was either tired or didn’t want to write in the first place.
I can have countless ideas flowing through my noggin, but they don’t mean jack-shit if I don’t feel like putting them in any kind of order to tell a story. When it comes down to it, some days you just don’t have it. The thing is, you can’t put off writing every time you hit a bout of writer’s block. If you do, you’ll end up creating bad habits and become a damn bum.
To make sure you keep your skank ass off the streets and working on your writing, here are a few quick tips to help you defeat your own brain.
Create And Maintain A Writing Routine
This can also be considered a writing schedule, but don’t worry about the lingo. The important thing is that you create a good writing routine that you’re able to maintain for a long time. By making sure you stick to specific writing times, you’ll find it becomes easier and easier to write as time progresses.
This is because you’re developing good habits and getting your brain to switch over into writing mode quicker. It’s like drinking your morning coffee. Once your brain gets accustomed to drinking the coffee at a certain time, it becomes a habit and you look forward to it. Hell, you probably make your coffee without even thinking about it anymore. And that’s exactly what’ll happen to you when you stick to a writing routine; you’ll look forward to your writing time and your brain will be primed and ready for work as soon as you sit down.
Use Goofy Writing Prompts As A Quick Warm-up
You don’t walk into the gym and immediately start lifting the heaviest weights around. You must warm-up first or you risk wrecking your shit up. And by shit, I mean that fleshy meat bag you call a body. The same principle applies to writing. You can’t sit down and immediately start knocking out chunks of brilliance.
No, you need to warm-up first. Most writers think long and hard about what they plan on writing before they sit down and knock out some paragraphs. That’s a mental warm-up. But what if you don’t have a current WIP to think about? It usually takes 10-20 minutes of garbage writing before you get into the flow of things. This can be difficult if you’re starting a new project.
Let’s say you’re planning on sitting down to knock out a quick short story or flash fiction piece. You’re going into it cold and have no ideas, or at least no direction for any ideas you might have. Essentially, you’ve hit that point I mentioned earlier where you don’t feel like writing. This is where goofy writing prompts come into play!
There are various accounts all over the internet that focus solely on writing prompts. Instagram has some good profiles where they give you a short paragraph describing an idea or plot. These are wonderful because you can write random nonsense on the topic as your warm-up. After ten or so minutes, your mind should be in the writing mood and ready to work on a real story.
Join A Writing Group
Here’s my final tip for defeating writer’s block; join a writing group! Now, this can be a double-edged sword. I say join a writing group because these are great places to share ideas, get inspired, and find help clearing your mental hurdles. But—and this is a big but—these groups have the downside of becoming a distraction.
If you aren’t careful you might find yourself conversing with your fellow writers more than you do any actual writing. This is bad. The solution: don’t think of a writing group as a social group. Yes, you can make friends and enjoy talking with others, but you shouldn’t make the group a place you go as an escape from the world or your problems. It should be a place you go to share ideas and enhance your writing, not dampen it.
While I can think of a few more tips, these are the most useful. Below I am going to list some ways you should NOT handle writer’s block. Because there are some negative things you can do that’ll create or reinforce bad habits. I’ll also list some other helpful ways to handle it. Anyway, I hope you found this quick article helpful. Until next time, keep on writing!
Ways you should NOT handle writer’s block:
- Don’t go on social media when the words aren’t coming.
- Don’t play on your phone (always turn it off or keep it out of reach while writing).
- Don’t take TV breaks when the writing get’s tough.
- Don’t surf the web.
- Don’t do research unrelated to anything you’re writing about.
Other helpful ways to deal with writer’s block:
- Take a short walk outside if the ideas aren’t coming to you.
- Re-read what you’ve already written.
- Take an exercise break (exercise has been proven to help get you into a flow state which leads to better writing output).
- Create character bios and history.
- Create the history for specific places.
If you found this helpful, check out these other writing quick tip articles!