Writer’s block is the bane of the serious writer, casual writers, and college students everywhere. How do you get past this mental block? Here are some things that work for me.
Write a blog post about writer’s block
In other words, put what you are writing aside and write something else. If I actually plan to get any writing done later, I tend to avoid Facebook because it just sucks me in.
Start writing random words and sentences
These can just be random words that come to mind, or a list of things around you. Write a few items around you, and them put them into a ridiculous sentence. Keep this up until you get a flow.
Restate your thesis
This clearly applies to college work rather than creative work. However, you can use it in fiction as well. Simply start writing your thesis, and look at how you might prove it, or how much progress you have made. Stories don’t generally spring to mind fully completed, and you likely have a pseudo thesis. Maybe your story started with a “What if” question. If you are writing it now, then you have begun to answer this question.
Ask yourself “what if” and answer it
This is similar to the former answer, but expanded. Maybe you are in the middle of a story, and have no idea where to go. Ask yourself something like, “What if a car drove through the wall in this scene?” and then answer it. This works for non fiction as well. “What if Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs could explain this?” and then look for ways that this could be true or false.
So many writing books tell you, “write every day.” This is great, but your mother also told you to clean your room every day as a child most likely. Making writing into a chore makes it about as interesting as cleaning your room. If you are sitting there telling yourself you have to write this because the writing gods say so then you have lost your way. Most writing courses and books also tell you that reading is as important as writing. Take this advice and pick up a book that inspires you. Take some time to remember why you want to write the next, bestselling novel.
Do research instead
Research is not limited to nonfiction, and can be a great way to find the path. With college papers, looking up articles on this subject might spark something in you to talk about. For fiction, it can help clarify weak elements in your story lines. Often, I will simply open a decent news site and start reading stories. Many times, I find myself reading a news article, and scrambling for a pen and paper to write a new story idea down. If I am coming up with new story ideas or new viewpoints then I have not wasted my time.
Don’t break the block
Some days, I wake up at 430 to change the baby, head to work before 600, eat my lunch while I catch up on work, give up trying to finish everything at 530pm, and sit in traffic for an hour only to come home to find that one kid just peed her pants, the other drew on the walls with permanent marker,the youngest got in to the cat litter, and the wife is feeling sick. I challenge anyone to find the motivation and time to write in this circumstance. Maybe you have a block because you need to rest. The writing will be there tomorrow, take some time to rest if you can. Even if you have to finish that college paper, taking some time to relax and unwind is very important.