I sat down to write this and, ironically, I could not think of anything to write for 30 minutes. So instead of continuing to stare, I got up and worked out. The past week and a half has not been an easy writing time for me. Now, I’m back at it, hopefully with some coherent words.
Writer’s block. All writers know the feeling. Sitting down to write, but the daunting view of the paper/computer screen/typewriter/etc leaves you paralyzed and wordless. Sometimes you get a few words down. Sometimes you force some words down. Usually, they’re not very good words. Either way, you feel useless, voiceless, and discouraged. So how do you get rid of writer’s block?
- Change your scene. Take yourself and your writing equipment (fancy word for a pen and paper, which is really all you need) to a new location. Somewhere that has a different vibe, a different amount of people, different noise levels. Let your brain know you’re somewhere else, and try again. The other side of that coin is take yourself without your writing equipment somewhere else, even if it’s just a quick walk to your mailbox and back, then sit down to write again. I think this wakes your brain up, and sometimes pulling yourself out of the haze of self-doubt and self-criticism is the most important thing.
- Try writing with someone else. They don’t have to be a writer, they can be remotely working on their computer. I did this yesterday with a friend who usually works from home. We met up in a coffee shop and stayed six hours. I was ready to give up LONG before six hours was up, but she was working away and I felt peer pressured to keep on going. She knew we were meeting because I’ve struggled being productive at home the past two weeks. It was really nice to sit with someone else and be able to talk about things, but also be okay with working in silence together.
- Plan what you want to write. If you sit down and can’t think of anything to write, try taking a step back and asking yourself, “What do I want to write?” It seems stupid, but staring at a page and expecting huge inspiration to hit you like lightning is equally, if not more, stupid. Do you have a scene in your head you’re trying to put on paper? Close your eyes and picture it, then describe it with words. Are you trying to begin something new? The way you begin it does not have to be the way it stays forever. Words are editable. What are you trying to say with your writing? What direction do you want your voice directed?
The most important thing I try to remember when I sit down to write is hope. I have hope that I will finish the piece I’m working on, hope that it will be good, and hope that it will say what I want it to say. Writer’s block can become a black hole that feels impossible to dig out of, but I’ve found that believing it’s impossible to overcome is what really keeps me blank-minded. Every writer goes through phases of writer’s block. Good words will come on the other side of it.