What a horrible word (or two words, rather): Writer’s Block
It’s the point every writer reaches in their writing process, sooner or later, once or a couple of times. It’s inevitable. Not only fiction writers suffer from this. When writing an essay, thesis, blog articles – anything – one day you just sit there and stare at a blank page or a blinking cursor. When the time comes for you, we have one major rule to follow: Don’t panic!
During NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), we focus on writing, struggling with writing and the perfect background music and atmosphere for you to write. This time, we’ll have a look at what you can do when dealing with he dreaded, infamous writer’s block. Before you start pulling your hair and cursing yourself, try the following tips we have for you. You’ll see, it will help!
Dealing With Writer’s Block
There are countless reasons of why you might experience writer’s block. They differ from person to person and are, oftentimes, depending on outer circumstances. Of course everyone meets writer’s block differently, yet everyone can draw something from shared experiences. Don’t give up just because one method is not working for you. There are just as many ways to deal with this blockage as there are reasons why you might be experiencing it in the first place. You just have to find the right way to tackle your personal version of it.
Beat Writer’s Block By Writing
That sounds contradictory, doesn’t it? And yet, it isn’t.
Stress and emotional breakdowns are a mundane problem many are facing each day. For a writer, such hard times can heavily affect their work resp. their writing. When you are going through a break-up, when you are facing issues in your family or financially, it is hard to stay motivated and inspired to write. This piece of advice is, however, not only good for writers: write it out! When something is bothering you, try to get it out of your system – by writing.
Formulating what and how you feel, the reasons for it and the consequences you are experiencing serves multiple purposes. On one hand, it’s helping you to get things out of your system. Seeing it written down can give you a new perspective, a new way to look at it, deal with it and, eventually, overcome it. On the other hand, it is a great exercise and reminder for the writers among us. If you tackle problems with writing, the writing itself can’t be the problem, right?
Set Deadlines For Yourself
This is not for everyone. Some people deal better with pressure than others, and some people work exceptionally well with deadlines. If you do not have one set for, e.g., your term paper or essay, set a deadline for yourself. That way, you can structure your writing or gain more motivation to finish a certain piece within the deadline. Even if you have a deadline for a big project, you can split it up into smaller periods of writing for certain chapters, research, page counts, etc.
If you try this for yourself and it doesn’t work: please, don’t panic! For some people, deadlines create additional stress and pressure that they are not up to. If you see that you are among the latter people, just scrap your own, personal deadline again.
Write About What You Love
We know it’s tempting to write about whatever is the bomb.com in the entertainment industry at the moment. The amount of vampire romance novels went through the roof after the release of the first Twilight movie in 2008. You will have to decide on your own how much you like this fact, but what’s obvious is that they were certainly not all of top quality, original or even interesting. This is why many people just adopted the topic to get a piece of the pie, not because they love to write about the topic.
When it comes to writer’s block, topics you are not interested in are more likely to make you meet with this problem. This is one of the reasons why lecturers advise you to pick a topic for your thesis that you are interested in. If you write about something someone else suggested, something you have no passion for, writing about it can become boring, a nuisance, or even aggravating. Maybe you are stuck in a story that lead somewhere where you didn’t want to go. Maybe that’s why you are blankly staring at the screen, hating the last words you typed up with such big effort. If you write about something you love, you do not only stay motivated, you also have a higher chance to overcome writer’s block. Let alone that your readers will notice your passion for the topic and thus get invested in your story a lot more.
Get Rid Of All Distractions
People are able to write in different environments. Some need a little commotion around them while others prefer perfect silence. If you want to, read up on our tips to create the perfect writing atmosphere.
However, when you are facing writer’s block, distractions and noises become even worse and unbearable. Getting rid of distractions is the first thing to do for your mind to be able to focus on your writing again. Clean your desk or other writing space, keep something to drink and some snacks close, and let room mates and family members know that you need some time to focus right now. Play your favorite song or try some ambient soundscapes to drown out any disturbing ambient noise from the street. For example:
- Ravenclaw Common Room from Harry Potter
- An Old Ship on a Windy Afternoon
- Magical Forest
- Bilbo Baggins Home from Lord Of The Rings
- Airy Meditation
- Beyond the Wall from Game Of Thrones
Use Writing Prompts Or Free Association Exercise
Writing prompts and association exercises are designed to spark your imagination. They give you a little scene, a thought, a strange situation and prompt you to write about it. Maybe you are stuck writing on your idea and fear that you can not write anything at the moment. In this case, prove yourself wrong! Try your hand at a simple yet enticing writing prompt. Set the goal to write one page about the prompt, maybe two, and show yourself that you still can.
If you don’t want to stray from your story too much, try to place your characters into such a prompt or association exercise. How would your protagonist behave in a certain situation? How would your characters deal with an unexpected twist or turn? That way, you maybe even find something to incorporate into your story, and even if not, it helps you to characterize your characters, getting them to know better. That way, you are able to portray them even better and your actual writing will benefit greatly.