5 Ways to Kick Writer's Block to the Curb
Writing is hard sometimes. Plain and simple.
Whether you’re writing a blog post for a client or tweaking copy on your website, sometimes the words fail to flow from your fingers onto the blank Google Doc page. This can be one of the most frustrating parts of the writing process, especially if you’re close to a deadline.
It happens to all of us—even the most experienced and celebrated writers deal with this. It’s just part of the process.
BUT there are several things you can do to shake the dust off so you can get back into your writing groove. No one has time to suffer from writer’s block.
Read something else
This is one you’ve likely heard before, but it really works. Many writers have a “swipe file” or a collection of articles, books, and blog posts (or if you’re like me, you have a Google Doc of links, random phrases and words I want to remember for future articles) to spark their creativity.
There's something about reading other’s words that make it easier to find your own. I find this trick to be very helpful when I’m not sure how to phrase something or if I feel like I’ve written the same thing over and over again.
Reading through your swipe file is also an excellent opportunity to read all the articles you bookmark and intend to read, but likely forgot about.
Get some fresh air
I know it’s the middle of brutally cold weather for most of the country right now, but if it’s not too paralyzingly chilly outside, take a walk. I live walking distance from my post office, so that’s always my go-to place to walk to and back (plus I love getting mail, so I like to check our P.O. box daily).
Whether you’re outside for five minutes or a half hour, it’s essential to get some exercise and breathe in fresh air. For those that work from home most of the time, finding yourself sitting in the same spot day after day without much exercise or time outdoors is an all too common occurrence.
Pro Tip: Put your phone on silent or Do Not Disturb so you can get some peace and quiet without worrying about emails or other notifications.
Word vomit onto the page
This doesn’t always work for me, but I know some writers are big fans of pushing through their writer's block.
The catch with this method is not to get hung up on the words you type onto the page. Instead, you forego any standard of perfection and write with the intention of going back and self-editing the crap out of it later.
Read: Write anyway, even if it is the worst thing you’ve ever written. You’re going to go back and edit it anyway, so focus on getting words down.
Eat something healthy
I'm going to be your mother for a second here, so bear with me. Every once in a while as I’m scanning Twitter, I’ll come across a tweet from a fellow freelancer claiming that they forgot to eat due to a busy day.
I’ve personally never had this issue, but I can see how it can easily happen; you’re up to your eyes in work, in your groove, and don’t want to stop until you check everything off your to-do list. That is until that pang of hunger kicks in, the spell is broken, and you’re wondering why you feel so sluggish.
Eating nutritious foods like fruits, veggies, nuts, yogurt, and other protein-packed snacks throughout the day can give you the long-lasting energy you need to finish that article or tick those final things off your to-do list.
On the flip side, if you have no trouble eating throughout the day, make sure you’re choosing the right foods. Your body is not a machine — you need to take care of it so you can do your best work and that means eating right.
Put yourself in the writing mood
When all else fails, it might be time for a mindset change.
Telling yourself that your writer's block is something you have control over and that what you're working on is a work in progress may do the trick. Stressing yourself out about not being able to write because of writer’s block is only going to make things worse — at least in my experience.
Instead, try to think of writing as something you get to do, not something you have to do (even though you have to meet your deadline, duh). Shifting your mindset and taking some of the pressure off yourself to get the piece done may be the solution you’re looking for. So put on your comfortable clothes (for me it’s leggings and a baggy t-shirt, because Fashion), light your favorite candle, put on a playlist that actually helps you GSD, and get to typing.
Sometimes all it takes it writing the next word or finishing a sentence and you'll be on your merry way.
Try a few of these the next time you feel like your brain is trudging through the mud. Let me know what works best for you (and what other methods you use that aren’t listed here).