For most authors, the mere thought of writer’s block sends a shiver down the spine. However, itâ€™s important to know the difference between a prolonged period of writer’s block and just having a bad day. Being unable to form a cohesive sentence, an overwhelming belief that everything you write is worthless, chronic eye-strain and deleting hours of work in a single click can all be symptoms of writer’s block.
If you are in the middle of a slump in your writing, take some time to ask yourself these questions to determine whether you’re suffering from writerâ€™s block:
- Are you panicking?
- Are you continually frustrated over the quality of the work you produce?
- Has it been longer than five minutes since you wrote your last cohesive sentence?
- Are you struggling to even write an email?
- Do you feel like giving up and throwing it all away?
- Have you talked yourself into believing that doing anything else would be more rewarding than writing?
If you answered no to these questions, you probably don’t have writer’s block. However, if youâ€™ve answered yes to every one of them then youâ€™ll surely be desperate for a way out. Itâ€™s important to remember that no matter how terrible you may be feeling right now, it is usually a passing phase and easily remedied!
Writer’s block often originates in self-doubt and it could be the result of any number of factors. Often, it’s not even writing that has led to this feeling, but unrelated issues in other parts of your life leaving you stressed out and tired. If you are stressed and doubting your skills, you will be pleased to know that there is a way out. Writerâ€™s block is almost always temporary and all you need to know is how to get your creative juices flowing again.
There are various ways to beat writerâ€™s block, some of which are very simple:
- Escape with a film. Watch your favorite movie as this could stimulate and inspire you.
- Take a nap. Maybe you’re just too tired and need some proper rest to be able to produce new ideas.
- Talk to your doctor or look into counselling.Â If you are feeling symptoms of depression along with your lack of creativity, getting medical or therapeutic help is hugely important.
- Go to the gym or just get outside. Physical exercise is a tried and tested method which can really help in combating stress.
- Relax. Indulge in a relaxing bath or showerÂ and let your subconscious take over for a while.
- Find inspiration through social interaction.Â Arrange to do something nice with your family, friends, or even a pet.
- Treat yourself. Enjoy your favorite sweet treat, whether that’s ice cream, chocolate or whatever else appeals.
- Take a break from writing. Whether that’s a few hours or a few days, take the pressure off and focus on enjoying life.
- Switch up your writing tools. If you usually type on a computer, switch to pen and paper for a while. Physically writing with paper and ink can make writing much more visceral and concrete. You can also play with formatting more easily, adding doodles and writing in different directions to release your creative juices.Â Furthermore, it’s harder to delete all your hard work in a fit of rage when you might have come up with a few real gems!
If you try most or all of these and still have no luck, it is a good idea to try to make yourself laugh. Give your characters completely inappropriate and unrealistic storylines and literally turn your project inside out! You may be surprised just how much this helps. You will see that writing the next sentence isnâ€™t so impossible and you might stop taking yourself and your situation so seriously. An overabundance of seriousness can really stifle your creativity!
Every negative emotion you are experiencing will affect your writing just as they affect all other areas of your life. Take a step back, assess what the actual problem is and try to deal with that before solving your writerâ€™s block. Once you do that, you may sit down and find that youâ€™re ready to write again.
Beat that block and write that book!