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How to Overcome Writer’s Block?

If you are a writer, you know that the words don’t always come so easily.

It might be the most frustrating aspect of being a writer to begin with. You know what you have to write about. You know that your career depends on you getting words onto the page. But you sit down at your desk, open up a Word document, put your fingers on the keys, and… nothing.

Your brain just won’t get going. You can’t seem to find the right words to get started. And as a result, you sit there, staring at the screen for 10 or 15 minutes, producing absolutely nothing. Eventually, you grow so frustrated that you quit the job you were trying to do and you walk out of the room.

Writer’s block.

It’s the bane of any writer’s existence. And while some professional writers will tell you that it doesn’t really exist, writer’s block is very real. Everyone goes through it. It’s just that those writers have created processes in which they can minimize the impact of writer’s block and get words on the page.

How do they do that? How do you blow past the frustration and stress of writer’s block and get yourself in a position where your fingers are moving again?

The truth is, there are plenty of ways to eliminate writer’s block in your life. The impact of writer’s block can be minimized greatly, to the point where it no longer is a factor in your day-to-day writing.

But the key to getting to that place is by having processes in place where you can get the words on the page quickly and effortlessly every day.

Write every day

This is the most common approach to writing that you will find anywhere on the web today.

Throw a stone in any Google search and you will hit three or four different writers telling you that a daily writing habit is the secret to eliminating writer’s block.

This method isn’t exactly for everybody, though. You might find that you can’t squeeze in writing every single day. But for those of you who can, there are few habits there are more beneficial to a writer than cultivating a daily writing habit.

Here’s why. When you write every single day, you train your brain to get words out every single day. It’s one of those things that will be met with a lot of resistance in the beginning, but eventually you break through and become that much more productive. The words flow easier every day that you build this habit.

It’s kind of like running. The first few times you go out for a run, you are met with a lot of resistance. You have aches and pains. You struggle to blow past the excuses that keep you inside, like poor weather or not enough time in the day. But the more that you run, the easier it gets. Eventually, it becomes a regular habit of yours, and you don’t have to worry about the negative side effects anymore.

A daily writing habit works in similar fashion. Initially, you will be met with a lot of resistance. You won’t feel well. You won’t have anything to write about. You just won’t have time.

But as long as you keep with it, the words begin to flow easier and easier with each passing day. Eventually, writer’s block will be a thing of the past.

Start in a different spot

This is another very effective way to get around writer’s block, especially if you are working on something like a novel.

There are times in every novel where you hit a wall in your writing. You decide you just can’t get past a particular scene or chapter. It’s a lot of work to slog through it, and so you sit there, struggling with writer’s block.

Here’s a secret that many pros use that separate them from the amateurs: go to a different part of the story.

Instead of trying to bash your head against the wall to get through a certain part of the story, just move to a different part that you want to write about. It’s that simple. You can keep that momentum going, and as you flesh out other parts of the story, you might be able to find some breakthroughs against the roadblocks in that previous chapter or scene.

There’s no rule of law that says you have to write your book or story in order.

Eliminate distractions

Sometimes, writer’s block isn’t the problem. The problem is all the other things that are at your fingertips.

We live in an unprecedented time in our lives. Today, we can look up anything we want at any time. Within minutes, we can have answers to any questions that are on our minds.

On the one hand, this is wonderful. At no other time in our history have we been able to enjoy such a wealth of knowledge and information.

On the other hand, it’s terrible. Any time your brain drifts, you are able to go down a rabbit hole of information that you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to do. This is a real problem for many writers. They’re not dealing with writer’s block, they’re just distracted.

Plus, every time you go down the rabbit hole on something else, you lose the ability to get back on track. It takes a long time to refocus yourself, and that might feel like writer’s block.

In this case, you can block those distractions. There are many apps available today that can block distractions on your phones, tablets, and computers. Sometimes the best way to get rid of writer’s block is to just force yourself to write. Block everything. Turn off your Wi-Fi if you have to. Do whatever you can to set up a barrier between yourself and those distractions so that you can get down to business.

Exercise

Writing is the greatest career in the world, but it’s not the healthiest.

We spend large chunks of our day simply sitting on our butts, trying to write words on a page. Our blood does not flow quite as well as, say, someone who is working on their feet all day.

Sometimes, a bout of writer’s block is just a lack of energy on our parts. The best way to get new energy and clear out your head is by exercising.

Now when I say that, I don’t have any particular type of exercise in mind. It’s not that you have to go down to the gym and start lifting weights, unless that’s your thing. The key is just to get your blood moving.

That could mean throwing on your running shoes in the middle of the day and going out for a quick mile. Or just going outside and taking a walk to clear your head. Maybe it’s getting a standing desk so that you can get out of your chair and move your body. Or you could just drop down to the floor and knock out 5 or 10 push-ups.

No matter what option you decide to use, getting a little exercise is absolutely necessary for writers. Not only is it great for your health, it can clear out the cobwebs in your head so that you can get words on the page.

Change of scenery

One of my favorite ways to clear out writer’s block is simply by freshening up my surroundings.

If you write from the same place every day, boredom can set in rather quickly. And that’s not a bad thing, but if it is keeping you from writing, then we need to find some way to get around that.

One easy and effective way to do that is by simply grabbing your laptop and going to a different location. That could be a different part of the house. It could be out on your back porch. Or it could be down the road at the coffee shop or library.

Regardless of which one you choose, freshening up your scenery can go a long way in clearing out the fog that is keeping you from writing.

Writers everywhere use these tools and processes to get going again. Otherwise, writer’s block derails your career. Instead, find ways to deal with writer’s block and gradually blast through it.

The good news is,  writer’s block is rarely permanent. It’s just a temporary hiccup that every writer has to deal with. But if you can incorporate these processes into your writing life, you might find that writer’s block affects you far less often.