We’ve all experienced it, that anxious feeling of inefficiency. It’s that inability to move forward on a project, or to even put your pen to the page. Sometimes, it feels like there is a literal wall in your mind preventing you from accomplishing a task. It’s inevitable, we all get it: writer’s block.
What’s Holding You Back?
The first step in combating writer’s block is to identify what’s preventing you from being productive. There are a variety of reasons people struggle; however, there are 3 main challenges the majority of people face:
Lack of Direction/ Focus
If you don’t have a solid idea of what you want to write about, it can be hard to even get started. You need to have a clear plan when writing an article, it will help with structure and keeping it cohesive.
Fear of Criticism
Fear is the ultimate enemy of success. Many writers are afraid to put themselves out there due to the fear of what people will think. You have to put these fears aside. No risk, no reward.
Some writers have trouble writing because they don’t like to put anything out there that isn’t perfect. This challenge often coincides with fear of criticism. The issue with perfectionism causes some to not publish because the piece is never quite complete. Sometimes, people will not even begin writing because they don’t feel perfectly prepared. When it comes to writing, there is almost always room for improvement – so don’t dwell on it.
Things to Avoid
Even though there isn’t a perfect solution to ridding yourself of writer’s block, there are some things you shouldn’t do to overcome the issue. You should not:
Procrastinate or Create Excuses
Seems self-explanatory, but you may be doing it without even knowing. Are you really too busy? Or are you just not actively finding the time?
Watch TV or Surf the Web
This does not provide the correct type of stimulation and usually leads to hours of procrastination.
Wait until you feel inspired
Inspiration can come from anywhere, but at a certain level you need to be seeking it out. So don’t waste time waiting for it to find you.
There isn’t a step-by-step solution to creativity, you have to find what works for you. However, here are a few tactics that have been shown to help:
- Bullet points can be especially helpful!
- Going for a walk is a great way to clear the mind.
- That’s right – no phone, tv, games, or multitasking of that sort. Focus on your writing.
Change Your Environment
- Sometimes a change of scenery is all it takes to feel fresh and inspired.
- Read articles about your writing topic, or simply read for fun to get your brain activated.
Listen to Music
- Music has been shown to stimulate brain activity.
- Coffee shops are great places to get some work done and fuel up to complete a long project.
- Creative writing is arguably the best way to defeat your writer’s block because you are writing – regardless of what it’s about.
Ultimately, there is only one way to overcome writer’s block – to write! Just start somewhere, even if it’s just a few words on the page. First drafts are never great, so don’t make excuses and just go for it! Getting started is often the greatest challenge, all you have to do is find a way to break your mental barriers.