There are a million-and-one guides online to keeping Writer’s Block at bay. They all have one thing in common; Writer’s Block is bad.
Sure, being stuck is the worst. Here are 5 things every struggling writer can do to jump-start their brains:
1. Healthy body, healthy mind:
Being well rested, well fed, well watered, and well exercised are all vital. The brain is not a muscle, but it is a machine. Keep it in good working order and the rest should follow.
2. Know your goal:
What is it you’re writing? And who for? How long does it need to be? Knowing the answer to these puts you in the right frame of mind to get started.
3. Know your material:
Unless you’re about to write your autobiography, odds are you will need to do a bit of research. Having the knowledge you’ll need later on is a great foundation for getting started. Half of the time, you’ll find that the extra know-how inspires you to write in the first place.
4. Take a break:
Rome wasn’t built in a day, apparently. Nothing ever flows from inspirational spark to fully-published in one fluid motion. When you feel yourself forcing the words out, stop. Refuel, and distract yourself. Start again when you feel refreshed.
Counter-intuitive? No! Reading is great stimulation for the noggin, and might inform your own writing. We all have styles we like to read and write in, and styles we work well in. These don’t always overlap. But by absorbing someone else’s hard work, we writers can inject a bit of energy into our own.
I’ve been writing almost my entire life. Not continuously, my arm would be knackered. I’ve been writing prose and poetry for about fifteen years, blogging for five and in the last 36 months I’ve written a short story dissertation (10,000 words) and a Master’s in Creative Writing (final piece 50,000 words). I’ve been writing copy and creative content for years.
The thing I have learned is that Writer’s Block isn’t always the moustachioed villain in a top hat and cape.
If something is proving hard to write, you have to ask yourself Why?
The best piece of advice my portfolio supervisor gave me, when my novel manuscript was floundering in the 10,000s, was that if something feels hard to write then don’t.
That doesn’t mean abandon the brief your team-leader delegated to you if you’ve drawn a blank. It means that when you struggle with Writer’s Block, embrace it. Let it be the indicator that perhaps you aren’t ready to get stuck in. Do some more research, make yourself a cup of tea, and reassess your approach. What’s stopping you from getting stuck in?
Then go for it.
Over to you.
What do you think? How do you conquer writer’s block?