Ever had writer’s block before? I’m sure everyone’s been down that road. You stare at your laptop / PC / type writer for ages trying to come up with the words or sentences for whatever it is you’re writing at the moment. Every sentence typed is back spaced until your eyes are bloodshot, hair’s a mess and your will power diminished.
Fear not, as I’ve been through the same thing countless of times and I’m here to divulge some of my own ‘remedies’ – for lack of a better word – to help you in times of need. If you feel that some of my methods may be unhelpful to you, then try adapting it to your own needs – and if you have better ideas, do let me know and I’ll include it here as well for others to get some idea to kick-start their block. The list that I have is in no chronological order.
1) Find music you can write to
My suggestion is to find music that doesn’t have words in it – in other words, not songs, but music. What helps me usually are epic music, instrumental / classical music, white noises of beaches or thunderstorm.
Songs are a big no-no for me as I tend to sing along and I can’t get original words to come out of my head. One story I wrote on my Wattpad had a whole scene dedicated to a Good Charlotte’s song because I was listening to the album on repeat. It’s not really professional to have song lyrics incorporated into your stories. As I write this I have the epic music playlist playing in the background. It’s actually good if you’re using it to write some epic adventure story – but I use it just as white noise as I can’t work with silence.
2) Writing prompts
When I’m in a slump to write for my blog, I look for writing prompts online. There are many kinds of writing prompts you can find online. I didn’t include a site here because you can just Google ‘writing prompts for blogs’ and thousands will appear. I’m so very grateful to people who take the time to create these prompts that help writer’s block.
I’m using a writing prompt at the moment as well – it has one for the whole year and some of the topics don’t relate to me so I can’t use it, but I adapt some of the topics for me to use. One of the topics was to come up with a list – and here I am. So yeah, it definitely helps.
3) Write something else
If you’re stuck on a blog post which can’t seem to go past the first line, leave it and just write something else. If you’re stuck on a story that’s only the first chapter, leave it and work on something else.
It’s not a good thing to leave things incomplete, but by getting stuck there, you’re not moving forward. If you stop that, maybe you could write something else that is even better. You have no idea how many blog topic ideas has been left as draft in here and eventually I just gave up and wrote something else – which I actually do manage to complete.
There are countless of stories I’ve left unfinished in my laptop as well – I’m not proud of it, but at the end of the day, I managed to complete other stories and I don’t feel too bad about myself by then.
4) Just keep writing
If you’re the sort of person who doesn’t believe in giving up on a story or a post, then just keep writing. Similar to Dory’s ‘Just keep swimming’ song, I’d tell you to ‘just keep writing, just keep writing, writing, writing’. Yes, you’ve hit a block and nothing creative comes up, but by continuing, eventually you will reach a point where something makes sense and your creative juices starts flowing. You can then go back and erase all those parts you wrote in denial of being stuck.
5) Change of environment
If you always write in a certain place, try moving somewhere else to write instead. And I don’t mean uprooting and leaving your home – although that might work – what I meant is like if you write in your bedroom, then try writing in the living room or another part of the house. If changing rooms in your house doesn’t work, then go to a café nearby and write there. Sometimes the sound of people murmuring and coffee being made is a good source of inspiration.
Moving places to find a place that gives you inspiration should be able to kick start that block.
6) Think of what to write as you go to sleep
I know that you need to get your brains relaxed before going to sleep, but try this once in a while when you’re in a slump for what to write.
If you’re writing a story, think up the next few chapters outline as if it’s played out like a movie in your head. When you get up, you should be able to move on from the stuck chapter.
7) Write at different times
I realize that I get most of my inspirations late into the night – usually after 2 or 3 am. There are times I forgo my sleep just to get a full chapter done, or a full blog post up. Maybe some other people have different times that works for them. Maybe early in the morning as you get up? Maybe in the afternoon. Try writing at different time from when you usually write and see if the inspiration flows through. If it’s at odd hours like mine, use the weekends to spend the night writing. I can’t do that daily because I have work the next day, but I spend my weekends sleeping late to write.
I sometimes write in midst of my working hours, because the inspiration decides to kick in just then. Just try not to get caught.
8) Ignore the waiting task and do other things
Sometimes it gets to a point of frustration that you can’t complete your story or blog post and the best thing to do is to ignore it and get ahead with life. Turn off that PC, go to a supermarket, go to a mall, paint, draw, find a new hobby or just sleep. It’s no point pushing yourself if you can’t move ahead. Sometimes while doing other tasks, your muse will find it’s way to you. And then you can start writing again.
9) Don’t plan; just write
Sometimes having an outline of what you want to write works, but sometimes it just makes it hard to move forward. What I tend to do when I’m in a rut is to just write whatever that comes through my mind, not editing them until I’m done. Sometimes when you write without direction, you tend to follow a different path from where you wanted to go in the first place.
I once lost so many chapters on a story I was writing and it was the worst time as I had to rewrite the whole thing and it turned out for the best because the story turned out better than the first draft with a different direction. Sometimes, different direction gives us better inspiration.
10) Don’t think about the critics
Sometimes, thinking about critics paralyzes me and makes me feel like I should not even consider writing as an ambition as I’ll surely be torn to shreds and suddenly the story that had seemed so great in my head looks like rubbish and I can’t be bothered to complete it because, what’s the point, they’re going to hate it anyways.
I didn’t listen to that inner critic and just wrote. Yes, I haven’t published anything yet, but I’ve uploaded some stories on my Wattpad and I’ve had my share of critics, but the best things to read about are the comments from those who loved my story and are moved to tears by it. Those comments are the ones that keeps me going, that gives me the fuel to keep writing. Think about sharing your story with those who’d love it and you’ll forget about the critics soon enough.
I know some of these tips may not work for everyone as we are all built differently. But I hope it gave you some ideas the next time you have a writer’s block. Try adapting some of these tricks to suit your taste and you’ll be out of that rut soon enough.
I’d love to read comments from anyone who has their own experience of writer’s block and how you got through it.