You’ve spent the last two hours staring at a blank screen. You’re feeling uninspired, annoyed and frustrated that words aren’t naturally coming to you as they usually do. This seems pointless, but you also know you need to write. Your next post is due tomorrow, but it seems like an impossible task at the moment.
What is going on? You guessed it: writer’s block. Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us. No one can access to their creative juices 100% of the day, every day. You’re not alone.
You don’t necessarily need to take a break. Here’s a list of fun — and maybe a little unconventional — ways to get your writing muse back on track.
1. Don’t Be Afraid to Use the F-word
This is the best way to release some of that writer’s block frustration you’re feeling. Don’t be so proper! Let out your inner sailor and let the f-bombs fly. It’ll be a cathartic expulsion of all that negative energy.
2. Change Your Writing Tool
Sometimes inspiration doesn’t come from a computer screen. Try your hand at free writing in a journal or with a simple piece of paper and pencil. One of the best ways to escape a writing funk is by journaling. It’s like physically connecting the words in your mind with the words you’ll write on paper.
3. Take a Coffee Break
Sometimes you need a little caffeine pick me up, and it’ll also be an excuse to step away from the glaring, blank screen in front of you. Changing your viewpoint for a moment can give your brain what it needs to reboot.
4. Get Out of the House for a Bit
Speaking of changing your viewpoint, you may need to step away and take a walk. Taking a walk in nature or engaging in a physical activity can reduce your stress levels and help you get those creative juices flowing again.
5. Embrace the Chaos
You don’t have to be perfect, so stop reaching for flawlessness. Everything you write isn’t going to be of the Pulitzer-Prize-winning caliber. The sooner you realize this, the easier it will be for you to revise your work and make it better. The important thing is to keep writing.
6. Have a Conversation With Yourself (or an Invented Character)
Trouble finding any inspiration from your own experiences? Invent them. How do you think fiction writers develop their many different characters in such detail? They make them real, believable people, which is often done by playing out scenarios. Sure, maybe you’ll feel a little silly, but perhaps your alter-ego, Tilda, has way more great ideas on how to travel through Nepal than you do. Give it a shot.
7. Switch Your Writing Environment
Maybe taking a walk outside isn’t enough. If that’s the case, try changing your work setting. Rotating between a few places can help you maintain maximum productivity. Try a library, coffee shop, bookstore or park for starters. You might even find you like the loud noise of a bar. Find a place that suits you.
8. Tackle Some Other To-Do List Items
The feeling of being unproductive can compound on your level of productivity. Don’t continue to stare at a blank word document. Instead, get up and cross a few other chores off your to-do list like washing the dishes or throwing a load of laundry in the washer. The positive vibes of productivity will return, and it’ll probably translate to constructive writing.
9. Use the Ideas of Other Bloggers
It’s not a crime to see what other bloggers are writing about. It’s inspirational to read other people’s work. You are one human being, and you don’t have the answers to everything. Take some great ideas that you come across, use them as inspiration, and put your own twist on them.
10. Revisit Your Best Work
Still lacking inspiration? Return to one of your favorite posts and revisit the style you used. This should help you get back in the groove of creating content that connects with your readers.
Motivating Quotes To Move Past Writer’s Block
Being burned out can be excruciating, especially when you absolutely have to get a writing task done. Whether it’s academic writing or freelance writing, you need to find a way to get through.
It’s at times like this where it’s best to look for encouragement and advice from those who have been where you are now. These quotes come from the mouths of some of the greatest writers who ever put pen to paper or finger to key. If you are feeling blocked or burned out, allow these words to help motivate you to find your way forward.
“There’s no such thing as writer’s block. That was invented by people in California who couldn’t write.” – Terry Pratchett
“The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair.” – Mary Heaton Vorse
“Convince yourself that you are working in clay, not marble, on paper not eternal bronze: Let that first sentence be as stupid as it wishes.” – Jacques Barzun
“I write whenever it suits me. During a creative period I write every day; a novel should not be interrupted.” – François Mauriac
“Unfortunately, many people suffer from BPS – Blank Page Syndrome. Let’s face it: starting to write is scary. Seeing the cursor blinking at you on that bright white screen, realizing that you now have to come up with three or ten or twenty pages of text all on your own – it’s enough to give anyone a major case of writer’s block!” – Stefanie Weisman
“Who is more to be pitied, a writer bound and gagged by policemen or one living in perfect freedom who has nothing more to say?” – Kurt Vonnegut
“’Writer’s block’ is just a fancy way of saying ‘I don’t feel like doing any work today.’” – Meagan Spooner
“Writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all.” – Charles Bukowski
“I haven’t had writer’s block. I think it’s because my process involves writing very badly.” – Jennifer Egan
“Writing is 90 percent procrastination: reading magazines, eating cereal out of the box, watching infomercials. It’s a matter of doing everything you can to avoid writing, until it is about four in the morning and you reach the point where you have to write.” – Paul Rudnick
“Don’t get it right, just get it written.” – James Thurber
“My block was due to two overlapping factors: laziness and lack of discipline.” – Mary Garden
“I only write when I am inspired. Fortunately I am inspired at 9 o’clock every morning.” – William Faulkner
“Never stop writing because you have run out of ideas. Fill the lacunae of inspiration by tidily copying out what is already written.” – Walter Benjamin
“What I try to do is write. I may write for two weeks ‘the cat sat on the mat, that is that, not a rat.’ And it might be just the most boring and awful stuff. But I try. When I’m writing, I write. And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says, ‘Okay. Okay. I’ll come.'” – Maya Angelou
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” – Mark Twain
“I’m a slow writer: five, six hundred words is a good day. That’s the reason it took me 20 years to write those million and a half words of the Civil War.” – Shelby Foote
“I write 2,000 words a day when I write. It sometimes takes three hours, it sometimes takes five.” – Nicolas Sparks
“Art is not in some far-off place.” – Lydia Davis
“Biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite: ‘Fool!’ said my muse to me, ‘look in thy heart, and write.’” – Philip Sydney
“You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.” – Octavia Butler
“When words don’t come easy, I make do with silence and find something in nothing.” – Strider Marcus Jones,
“Read a lot. Write a lot. Have fun.” – Daniel Pinkwater
“To write is to write is to write is to write is to write is to write is to write is to write.” – Gertrude Stein
“The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress.” – Philip Roth
Writers of all backgrounds feel differently about writer’s block and the inability to write for whatever reason. Some call it laziness, others trying too hard. In any case, be encouraged: Other writers have been in your position and yet moved forward.