15 Ways to Beat Writer’s Block

Writer’s block is a controversial topic. Numerous writing professionals refuse to acknowledge it’s existence whilst others don’t believe it applies to them. Is it a form of depression or merely an excuse for procrastination? Whatever you believe, there are occasions when inspiration just doesn’t come easily and finding ways to change this becomes necessary.

How Do We Beat the Notorious Block?

Whether we believe in it or not, as writers, we’ve all been through “the block” at some stage or another. Some of us may have already come up with personal ways to combat the irritation but, if not, here are 15 ways to beat writer’s block that you could consider trying.


01. Play Music

Music is there not only to enjoy, but also to inspire. Find a playlist that will generate a frame of mind conducive to writing or, even better, create your own. Altering your frame of mind through music can often have the desired result.


02. Don’t Begin at the Beginning

Change things up. Hurdle over your block by starting your article or post somewhere other than at the beginning. Staring at a blank page because you don’t know how to start a project will just build frustration and extend your block. A summation can sometimes be the inspiration you need to go back and find the introductory words you need. Try it.


03. Change Your Perspective

Be somebody else. Write from your pet dog or cat’s perspective, or pretend to be a famous person and write from their angle. Sometimes all you need to open the floodgates is to be somebody or something other than who you normally are.


04. Read

You’re probably an avid reader already. Now, instead of trying to force out an idea, let somebody else inspire you through their words. Perhaps even get out of your normal environment to read – a library or that same coffee shop may be decent options to start a new novel or an autobiography. Let the words take over to hone your inspirational senses.

I think a lot of what people refer to as “writer’s block” is the period during which ideas gestate in the mind, when a story grows but isn’t necessarily being written in sentences on the page. But it’s all necessary, in the end. If I am feeling stuck or uninspired, I usually take a break and read. That always gets me going again.

Jhumpa Lahiri – Pulitzer Prize-winning Author

05. Work on Your Bills

There are always bills to be paid. How will you pay them if you don’t beat your writer’s block? Subconsciously there can’t be a much better motivator, although it is extreme. It might just be what you need to light a fire under your behind though!


06. Phone a Friend

No, not in the same context as you would in the popular game show. Sometimes speaking to a good friend or family member about your writer’s block can start the required juices flowing. Sharing any problem with a confidant generally makes it feel better, and the right person may also have suggestions on how to remedy matters.

Image: Bookbaby Blog

07. Devise a Content Map

Outline your project with a simple content map. Be basic and don’t stress about the finer details – those will come once you’ve got a full map and your inspiration begins to flow.


08. Learn a New Skill

Leave your desk for a while and do something else that you hold an interest in. Investigate “How to” web pages and instructional videos to learn new things. Finding a hobby will relax your mind and get you back into a creative zone where you can write again more quickly.

 You might take comfort from the fact that while writing can’t be forced, time spent not writing can be put to good use. Try acquiring other skills, like rolling cigarettes or reading. Learn to differentiate between scotch and bourbon. Learn the differences among corn whiskey, rye whiskey, and wheat whiskey.

Joshua Cohen – 2022 Pulitzer Prize winner for Fiction

09. Don’t Beat Yourself Up

Shit happens, dude. You cannot be overflowing with inspiration all the time. Your track record is good and you’ll get through this so rather encourage yourself and commend yourself. You are better than the block and soon there’ll be another example to confirm how good you actually are!


10. Be Flexible with Your Writing Hours

Don’t be rigid with your writing times. Give yourself some leeway to grow some momentum. Try waking up earlier to write, or scribe deep into the night. Don’t set your alarms! Go with the flow.


11. Do House or Garden Work

Work up a sweat. Complete all of the chores you don’t really like. A bit of tedious manual work can take your mind off your writer’s block. Afterwards, get clean. It is amazing how much a relaxing shower or bath after manual work can trigger inspiration.

Image: Freepik

12. Shut Everything Down and Sleep

Take a few hours out of your normal working day to sleep. A couple of hours of decent sleep during the day enables your dream state to work on beating writer’s block. Our subliminal minds can work wonders for inspiration, especially if it’s during an unscheduled period.


13. Break Your Routine

Do things differently. Change your writing environment by writing at a coffee shop or in a park. Take a road trip and write when you stop. Be imaginative and encourage your inspiration to follow your lead.

I wonder, when a writer’s blocked and doesn’t have any resources to pull himself out of it, why doesn’t he jump in his car and drive around the U.S.A.? I went last winter for seven thousand miles and it was lovely.

Jim Harrison – Late Author, Poet & Essayist

14. Make Use of Technology

There are numerous online writing aids like AI content generators available. Most of these have features that can help writers with headlines, introductions and long and short form content. It’s abnormal for some of us but, hey, when the block is bad, it’s a valid option.


15. Do Something Physical

Build up your adrenaline and stimulate your endorphins by taking a run or doing some gym work. Being physically active drives inspiration and will really get your mental juices flowing. Your creative mind will thank you afterwards!


Summary

The above 15 ways to beat writer’s block are all really simple actions which may have incredible results. None of us are immune to writer’s block and nor should we be. Any writer who doesn’t struggle with a loss of inspiration is essentially super-human, so the trick is finding suitable ways to combat the block when it does rear its head.

Once you have a system to work with, you will gain added confidence in knowing that your loss of creative thinking is merely temporary. Your stress levels, when it does happen, will decrease and you will find that its impact on your life and profession will diminish.

Header photo by Photo by Fred Kearney on Unsplash

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