There’s nothing worse than writer’s block.
It can stop us in our tracks, make us miss deadlines and put our clients, projects and finances in jeopardy.
Unfortunately though, it happens to the best of us.
Out of nowhere, it can sneak in, shut off our brains and make it impossible to finish our projects and get inspired.
Every writer experiences it, and no matter how good a writer you are or how long you’ve been freelancing, it never goes away completely.
I still experience writer’s block from time to time, and when it hits, I feel like I am running into a brick wall. Everything stops and I can’t continue working until I’ve powered through it. It’s really exhausting.
How do I power through it?
Well, to be honest, there are times when I just go lay down in my bed, fumble through my iPhone and wish it away. But, as you can imagine, this doesn’t work too well.
Over the years, I gradually learned what works for overcoming stubborn writer’s block, and today, I want to share those solutions with you. While these tips won’t make writer’s block a thing of the past, they will help you break down those walls and get back on track faster, easier and with less hassle.
1. Take a Break
If you were out working in the yard, you would need a break once in a while to get some water, cool down and have a seat. The same goes for your brain. Sometimes, it just needs a break!
Even if you’re on a deadline, taking 15 or 20 minutes to step away from your work and do nothing can make a world of difference. Just make sure your break involves doing something that is unrelated to what you’re working on and it is a relaxing activity.
Here are some options you can try:
- Watch TV
- Call a friend
- Grab lunch
- Walk your dog
- Clean or do dishes
- Take a walk in nature
- Color (my personal favorite!)
Stephen King said it best…
“If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write.”
Reading inspires us, and it exposes us to new words, new sentence structures and new ways to say things. It gets us thinking, and it fuels our creativity.
If you’re ever in a slump to produce words or finish off a piece of content, take some time away and read.
Read content related to what you’re working on. This can inspire you both on a content level and as a writer. If you can’t find related content, read whatever you can – even romantic fiction or young adult dramas! Start taking in words, and let your mind relax for a bit.
Because we work from home, on our own time and without the guidance of a boss or manager, the hours can easily slip away from us.
We sit at our keyboards, stagnant, for hours, typing away well into the late night or even the wee hours of the morning. We may even forget to eat, go to the bathroom or sleep when we need to! I’ve been there and it wasn’t pretty!
You may struggle to find the right words, or work slower and more haphazardly. Your physical energy will start to wane. Without sleep or food, your fingers will type slower, your eyes will start to droop, and you won’t be able to accomplish as much as you could if you were at your best.
If you’ve been at this a while and I know that if you are experiencing a little writer’s block, you can probably chock it up to the long hours. Take some time to refuel before diving back in. You can:
- Grab a healthy snack
- Take a 1-2 hour catnap
- Drink a big glass of water
- Hop in the shower
These are all good options for refueling both your mind and body before getting back to work.
4. Change Atmospheres
The beauty of being a freelance writer is that you can take your work anywhere.
So why do so many of us end up working at the same desk or table, day in and day out, no matter what we’re working on?
This kind of monotony is why most of us escaped the 9-to-5 world, and going back to it can stifle our creativity and make our jobs much more difficult.
The next time you’re experiencing writer’s block, think to yourself…
“How long have I been sitting here?”
“When’s the last time I changed positions?”
“When is the last time I stood up?”
If it’s been a while, pack up your stuff and get moving. Head to a nearby coffee shop, set up at a local park and get some fresh air, or walk around for a few minutes and move to another room in the house and open a window. This may be just the pick-me-up you need to get your brain moving and inspired again.
I invested in a standing desk recently and it made such a difference in my working routine. I purchased the Varidesk which is a portable solution you can put on top of your current desk that allows you to raise your desk to standing height whenever you want. I sit for one hour and then stand for the next and trade off.
Research standing desks and think about investing in something like this. It made a positive impact on my energy levels and my overall work environment.
5. Get Some Inspiration
Writer’s block can stem from a lack of inspiration.
Maybe you don’t know enough about what you’re writing, or you don’t have the resources or experience to inspire any content that’s new or revolutionary on the topic.
As I mentioned before, reading can be a great place to gain inspiration – particularly if it’s in the vein of what you’re currently working on.
But even better than reading is an actual physical experience. Get out in the world and take in something new related to your subject. Go to a museum and view the artwork you’re writing about, sit in on a lecture by an author whose bio you’re creating, or check out photos of the city you’re profiling on your travel blog.
The more you can take in, learn and experience on a topic, the more inspired you’ll be to write about it and do it justice.
You Can Overcome Writer’s Block!
Writer’s block is an unavoidable dynamic we all experience, even people who have been writing for decades! Fortunately, overcoming writer’s block is possible.
Though not every tip will do the trick every single time, try a few out and see what works. Chances are one of them will break you out of that funk and get you back on track in no time.
What do YOU do to overcome writer’s block?