Whether you’ve just started writing or you’ve been writing all of your professional life, at one time or another you’ll be the victim of writer’s block.
When it happens to me the eloquent lyrics of Natasha Bedingfield’s song “Unwritten,” start playing on loop through my mind.
Staring at the blank page before you, open up the dirty window, let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find. Reaching for something in the distance, so close you can almost taste it, release your inhibitions… (Natasha Bedingfield, “Unwritten”)
It happens to all of us. You’re unable to start a piece. You’ve started a piece, but hit a mental snag and can’t continue.
At best, it can be temporary, and just a short interruption. At worst, it can make you feel like throwing in the towel and giving up writing altogether.
And what a shame that would be.
The truth is, all writers experience writer’s block at one time or another.
Thankfully there are plenty of hacks to dig your way out of it and get your writing back on track.
- Using Random Prompts: Choose such prompts as “A teardrop smudged the words of the first sentence.” Stop and think of the rest of that scene. These prompts will help get those creative juices flowing again. Also, choose the lyrics of a song and create new lyrics. Photo cards will help, as well. Take a picture from those cards and create a scene.
- Sleep On It: You may have exhausted your brain for the day. You may have too many things on your mind, or you might be trying too hard to come up with ideas to write about. So, put it aside and get a good night’s sleep.
- Stream-of-Consciousness Writing: Journaling allows you to use interior monologue to put your thoughts on paper. This type of writing can be difficult to follow and often doesn’t make sense, but it can be a brilliant way to clear your mind of clutter and get back on track.
- Unplug the Internet: This will eliminate many of the distractions that are probably keeping you from concentrating on your piece. Sitting in a quiet room without the distractions of e-mail, Facebook and Twitter, may do wonders to eliminate your writer’s block.
- Read Something: Grab a coffee and read a few chapters of a book. A magazine article. A blog. Seeing what others have written can really help jumpstart the creative process. And, one of the best ways to become a good writer is to read a lot of writing.
- Play A Game: Playing a game can be a great distraction from the frustrations of writer’s block. It can take your mind off of what you’re focusing on, and give your brain a rest. Games of all kinds can help your creativity and problem-solving skills.
- Throw The Rules Out The Window: There are rules to writing and sometimes they can be very restrictive. Throwing the rules out the window can be very liberating. Just write about any subject as freely as you want. Ignore spelling, grammar, formatting and context rules. Just let it all loose and you’ll be surprised how it can help bust through writer’s block
So the next time you feel stuck or uninspired, try one of these hacks and get your creative juices flowing again.
Originally published at medium.com