How to Overcome Writer’s Block: 9 Proven Tips That Work

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I remember watching the Stranger than Fiction movie, where a successful novelist named Karen Eiffel (played by Emma Thomson) faces a severe writer’s block case and desperately searches for ways to overcome writer’s block and her creative stagnation.

To resolve the issue, her publisher sends an agent, Penny Escher (Queen Latifah), to “nudge her” and closely monitor her progress as the delay affects their bottom line.

Even though the movie is fiction, the issue of writer’s block is not and is one of the main issues affecting almost everyone.

overcome writer's block

Every writer has experienced the dreaded writer’s block at some point. It is a universal affliction that can strike at any time, leaving you staring at a blank page or screen, unable to put words together coherently.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be a permanent state of affairs. There are many strategies and tools to help you overcome writer’s block and get back to doing what you love – writing.

Tips to Overcome Writer’s Block

1. Change Scenery or Environment

I hardly completed my content in the same place except for short documents. Sometimes I work in my office, and other times I will be in my room, at the cafeteria and even while traveling. Sometimes you need to change scenery to get those creative juices flowing again. Consider working in a different location, such as a coffee shop, park, hotel, home or library. The new surroundings can provide fresh inspiration and break the monotony, which may help overcome writer’s block.

The good thing about modern times is that you can work anywhere for as long as we can get access to our draft and document. I, for once, am grateful that my organization decided to begin the work-from-home scheme a few years ago (even before the Covide-19 began peaking). Hence, working anywhere became a new norm.

2. Plan a Time and Make a Habit

Establishing a regular writing routine is another effective strategy to overcome writer’s block. Humans are creatures of habit, and developing a writing habit can make it easier to get into the writing zone and stay there.

Choose a specific time each day dedicated to writing. It could be early in the morning when you’re fresh and full of energy or at night when it’s quiet and peaceful. John Grisham wrote his first novel, A Time to Kill while working as a busy lawyer. He figured he needed to write a page daily and chose the early morning (5 am) to write every day before dashing to the office.

Try to stick to this schedule as much as possible, even when you’re not feeling particularly inspired. Remember, the goal is establishing a routine that signals your brain that it’s time to write.

3. Give Your Workspace a Facelift

Another step to overcoming writer’s block is creating a conducive environment for creativity to flow. This means giving your workspace a facelift to make it a place where you feel inspired and focused.

A cluttered, disorganized space can often contribute to a disorganized mind. So, start by tidying up your workspace. Get rid of anything that isn’t necessary and organize your materials in a way that makes sense to you.

One of my favorite things is visiting the nearest IKEA and finding inspiration for my workspace or home. About 60% of the furniture in my office is bought from IKEA. Just walking through the showroom will give me plenty of ideas. Best of all, IKEA furniture is sold reasonably, and I can enjoy some meatballs too.

Next, consider the aesthetics of your workspace. What kind of atmosphere do you want to create? Would you work better in a calm, serene environment or thrive in a vibrant, energetic space?

Consider adding inspiring items like photos, artwork, or motivational quotes. Lighting also plays a crucial role in setting the mood. A well-lit room can improve your mood and productivity, while a dimly lit room can create a soothing, relaxed atmosphere.

4. Freewriting

Freewriting is a session where you write without judgment or expectation. Just put your fingers on the keyboard and type away. Or use your pen and start jotting on your book. Many good lyricists use freewriting to produce raw materials or overcome writer’s block.

Set a timer for 10-15 minutes and let your thoughts flow freely onto the page. Don’t worry about grammar, structure, or coherence. The goal here is to let your mind wander and explore ideas without constraints. Often, this exercise can lead to unexpected breakthroughs.

5. Admit We Can’t be Perfect All the Time

Often, writer’s block stems from the fear of producing imperfect work. But it’s essential to remember that no first draft is perfect. All writers produce flawed first drafts, no matter how experienced they are. It’s part of the creative process.

Allow yourself to make mistakes and write badly. Don’t judge your work too harshly in the initial stages. Just focus on getting your ideas down on paper. You can always revise and refine it later. Remember, a flawed piece of writing is infinitely better than no writing.

6. Read

Reading widely can help you generate new ideas and overcome writer’s block. Reading exposes you to different writing styles, ideas, perspectives, and techniques that can inspire and influence your own work.

Don’t limit yourself to one genre or style. Read everything you can get your hands on – fiction, non-fiction, poetry, essays, blogs, newspapers. The more diverse your reading materials, the richer your writing will become.

7. Seek Inspiration from Other Mediums

Sometimes, immersing yourself in other art forms can jumpstart your creativity and help you overcome writer’s block. Watch movies, read books, visit art galleries, or listen to music. Engaging with different artistic expressions can trigger new ideas and perspectives that can be applied to your own writing.

8. How about some mind mapping?

Mind mapping is my favorite idea-generation method, especially offline and with my sketchbook (though it is aesthetically far away from what is thought by its creator, Tony Buzan). It’s a scientifically great solution to kick start and grow your ideas. And it’s fun too!

Mind mapping is a visual tool that helps organize thoughts, generate new ideas, and connect different pieces of information, effectively stimulating creativity and enhancing problem-solving. It can simplify complex topics, improve memory and comprehension, and be a great brainstorming technique, making it an excellent method for overcoming writer’s block.

In creating a mind map, start with a central theme or concept and branch out with related ideas, characters, or plot points.

9. Take Breaks and Practice Self-Care

Pushing yourself too hard can exacerbate writer’s block. Taking regular breaks and engaging in activities that promote relaxation and self-care is essential.

Go for a walk, practice mindfulness or yoga, or indulge in a hobby you enjoy. Watch some movies. Visit the nearest museum or art gallery. These moments of rejuvenation can help clear your mind and alleviate the pressure that may be hindering your creative flow.

The Quest to Overcome Writer’s Block: Final Thought

The journey to overcome writer’s block takes patience, perseverance, and practice. But with these proven tips and strategies, you can defeat writer’s block and unleash your creative potential. So the next time you’re staring at a blank page, don’t despair. Remember these tips, take a deep breath, and start writing. Happy writing!

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