Whether it’s a blog post for a client, a short story competition you want to enter or even a new caption for Instagram, when writer’s block strikes it can feel completely debilitating - and like you’ll never be able to write again.
To help overcome it, the first thing to remember is that ‘writer’s block’ isn’t something that crawls into your head zapping you of your writing ability; it’s usually connected to how you feel about your work.
Confidence is a huge part of being able to write and when those sneaky suspicions of ‘am I good enough?’ or ‘will my client like this?’ start to creep in, they can be overwhelming and leave you struggling to write at all.
What to do to restore your faith in your writing ability?
Here are my five top tips for when writer’s block strikes:
1. Get up and walk away
If you find yourself struggling to find the words to write, get up from your desk and walk away. Pay with cash, don’t take your phone and walk a different way home to the way you came…it will encourage you to connect with your surroundings and look at things differently.
On returning to your work you’ll find you approach it with a clearer focus and the new ideas will start to flow.
2. Get creative
Writing is a creative output and as described in an article for the New York Times, people’s approach to writing varies, as can the parts of their brains they use to write. Disciplines that require skill and practise need exercise.
Danielle Krysa’s book Creative Block is packed full of creative exercises to help you stimulate the grey matter, give some of them a go.
3. Buy a newspaper
Newspapers offer stat-based, short snippets or long form pieces of journalism about people, products, services, businesses – everything! I recommend reading them in hard copy as this is a much more immersive experience than reading online. Plus, you can’t fall into the rabbit hole of click bait if the paper is on the table in front of you.
Get your pen out and scribble all over it as your brain engages and ideas come to you; go grab a paper and feast on its contents.
Talking with someone you trust will help your confidence and talking about your work will create new perspectives.
If you’re not quite ready for an in-depth dive into what’s at the root of your writer’s block, think about joining a writing community like Pro Copywriters – but remember to limit your online browsing to no more than 20 minutes, or you run the risk of losing half your day to aimless online wandering.
This comes up a lot when looking at solutions for writer’s block, and as obvious as it is, it’s also probably the best solution.
The chair you’re sat on – describe it, the scene from your window – dictate it, the last time you ate in a restaurant – write a letter about it; just write and focus on how you use language to solve these mini challenges.
Then go back to your work and apply the same process, break it down and start the first draft; write, edit, repeat – you can do it!