It's a situation every author dreads: sitting down in front of the computer and staring at the screen. No words form in your head -- a big blank has replaced your brain. It's the dreaded writer's block. Not every case of supposed writer's block is actually that. A lot of times authors are simply suffering from burnout or a bad case of the "don't want to" bug. If this is the case, deal with the root of the problem before assuming the writer's part of your brain is on vacation. If you've ruled out other causes and you really want to write, try one or more of these techniques to trick your brain into becoming creative again.
Shake Up Your Creativity
Some experts feel that writer's block is a reaction to your brain becoming bored. Whether that's true or not, it's proven that authors can break through the block by shaking up their mental world. Here are 12 great ways to do just that.
- Go for a walk. Put on some headphones and play some of your favorite tunes, and get outside and stroll around. You only need about 20 minutes, and you can walk around the back yard as easily as you do around the neighborhood basketball court. The key is to rest your gaze on something different.
- Create a writing habit. Schedule your writing period for the same time every day. Once you're used to sitting down at the computer at 6:30 every morning or every evening after the kids get to sleep, your brain will automatically go into writing mode then.
- Set a deadline and tell it to someone else. Tell your editor, tell your grandkids, tell someone who will nag you if you don't finish on time. In extreme situations, give a trusted friend money and allow them to donate it to a cause you hate if you don't make your deadline. If you work well under pressure, this is golden.
- Write something easier first. Do a blog post, send out a couple of emails, add to your private journal. Warm up your mind and your fingers.
- Get your body moving. Get up from the desk and walk up and down your stairs. Dance to two or three songs. March in place. Get your body warmed up and your blood pumping.
- Caffeine. It may be a stereotype, but many authors run on caffeine. And for good reason. Caffeine stimulates the brain cells, making it easier to think and write.
- Write in a new spot. If you always sit at your desk to write, pack up your laptop and go to a coffee shop, a park, or even a beach. Pro tip: writing in the wild prevents your from procrastinating on social media sites.
- Write an outline. Sure, some writers swear by writing off the top of their heads, but if you're stuck on where to go next, it sure is nice to have a road map along.
- Change up the sounds. Do you usually write with the TV in the background? Try Coffitivity.com. Try music. If you usually use music, try nature sounds such as thunderstorms or waves. Give your brain a subtle little change to freshen its attitude.
- Organize your workspace. Get a glass of ice water or a cup of coffee. Sharpen your pencils or grab your favorite pen and pad of paper. Bring the bowl of jelly beans onto the desk and get to work.
- Bribe yourself. it's the old carrot-and-stick method. If hearing from someone's nagging is the stick, how about promising yourself a carrot? A glass of wine at the end of your writing session, two episodes of your favorite binge series when your work is done, no more chocolate until the words are on the page. Aim toward whatever motivates you.
- Get the other stuff off your mind. Can't work because the laundry needs folding, you need to call your sister, or you haven't taken the dog for a walk? Make sure you're not procrastinating, but if you seriously can't concentrate until your mental decks are cleared, get that stuff out of the way.
Keep the Faith and May the Force be with You!