Writer’s Block. It happens to the best of us. You are in the middle of working on a great story, an essay for school, a blog post, an email…. anything written. And then BAM! You have no clue what to write. Where do you start? What comes next? How do you continue? What should you say?
1. a usually temporary condition in which a writer finds it impossible to proceed with the writing of a novel, play, or other work.
Even writing posts for my blog, I find myself hitting a block sometimes. Most of the time, the words just flow and I can’t type as fast as I can think. Other posts, it takes me days to get them written. That’s why I work ahead. This post is going live on August 29, I am currently writing it on July 26, so a month early. I like to have a buffer for those days that I do have trouble writing down my thoughts. One day I may get three posts written if I am on a roll. Other posts take three days for just one.
With all the writing I have done in the past year and a half on this blog, I have found a few activities I can do that will help me get past writer’s block because they all help me to clear my mind, meaning there’s room to focus again once I get back to it.
Walk away from the computer. I often find that, if I step away from my desk, walk to another room of the house, I can think of something else. Just staring at a blank computer screen doesn’t help me, so I don’t. I walk away. I leave the office. I go play with the kids for a few minutes. I give my mind a break from it all. Then when I sit down at the computer again, I can usually start writing again because I have an open mind again.
Use your editorial calendar
Whether you have an online editorial calendar, like CoSchedule, or a written one in something like a Day Planner, reference it. Sometimes I have trouble just deciding what topic I am going to write on that day, so I will reference my calendar and see what I was planning. There are days that I just can’t concentrate on that subject, so I will rearrange and find a different topic to write about. That let’s me go back to the one I am having trouble with another time.
Read something unrelated
Grab a book. Browse facebook. Read someone else’s blog. Take your mind completely away from what you are working on. But keep it in the writing mood by reading work from other’s. I love to read and always have a book ready to go on my kindle, so I will go grab that and set a timer for 20-30 minutes. I have to set the timer or I will lose track of time and end up reading all day!
Watch a tv show
If you want to totally shut your mind off, watch a tv show. Most shows are an hour at most, 40 minutes if you are watching without commercials. Watch just one episode. That should be enough time that you were able to engross in the show, and stop thinking about what you are writing. Again, coming back with an open mind that is ready to think about your topic can do wonders for your writing.
There’s nothing like a good walk in nature to clear your head. Go for a walk. Sit in the sun. Lounge by the pool for a few minutes. Take the kids to a park. Get yourself out of the house/office and away from the computer. I find this not only helps writer’s block, but can also help if I am in a grumpy mood or starting to get a headache. Nature is a beautiful thing, so go soak it up while you can.
It doesn’t have to be intense. Just going for a walk is exercise. Do some jumping jacks. Take a bike ride. Practice some yoga. Whatever you can do to get your body moving and the endorphins raised. I find that, after 20-30 minutes of exercise, my mind and body are both reenergized and I can sit down and concentrate on getting a good post written up, even if I was having trouble with it earlier.