I don’t suffer from writers block anymore. I can sit down and type away, and the words, sentences, paragraphs, pages appear on the screen. Now one could argue whether that’s a good or bad thing given the quality of what I write, but I have a believe that as long as you write out of a place where you fundamentally care about the effect your writing will have on the reader, it’s acceptable to be a “bad writer”.
But it’s not like writers block is a total stranger to me. I wrestled that demon too. So how do I overcame it? How to fix writer’s block?
Hard work, pain and dedication.
But I don’t suggest you do it that way. Doing it the way I did is kind of like kicking in a door (and hurting your foot in the process), when you could simply have turned the doorknob. Because there are a lot easier, faster, efficient and pleasant ways to overcome writer’s block. (And yes, one of them is hypnosis against writers block, but that’s just one of them.)
If you’re experience acute writersblockitis, the worst thing you can do is to keep sitting in front of the keyboard with an empty, confused, cluttered mind, trying to force yourself to come up with something to write.
That’s the equivalent of sitting in a car that’s gotten stuck, and pushing down the gas pedal further – the wheels will just dig in deeper instead of moving you out of that hole.
So just get up and do something else. A writer’s brain can be more stubborn than a donkey, so if it doesn’t want to write – don’t try pushing it. Instead, satisfy it’s demands by doing something else. Get out of your seat, put on some music, dance. Believe it or not, that does get the creative juices flowing, even if you’re the world’s second most terrible dancer. (In order to qualify for the title of the world’s most terrible dancer, you’d have to battle me first.)
Active Engagement vs Passive Consumption
Now I don’t suggest you do something that’s is passive consumption – like watching TV to overcome writers block. While it could in theory be a good way to get inspiration, in practice it is not.
Make sure that you do something that actively engages you. It’s about getting into a mode where you’re brain says: “Ok, let’s do this.” And once you have this let’s-do-this-momentum, you can direct it towards writing. Sneaky, I know, but the stubborn donkey (=writers brain) will be quiet willing to do what he so vehemently refused before if he feels his demands have been met. That’s how to fix writer’s block 😉
However, you do want to read other people’s writings. And when I say people I mean authors. Good authors. People who, when they write, have a huge group of people who actually want to read them.
Read them for fun. But also read them to study how they do things. How do they open a starting paragraph, so that readers are enticed to keep reading? How do they transition from one paragraph to the next?
Just make conversation with someone. Talk with someone. Ideally in an eye-to-eye conversation, but you can also talk with someone on the phone or skype. We all are social animals, we thrive on interaction, it’s an intensely stimulating experience for our brains that gets our neurons firing.
Change Your Environment
Go out. Take a walk in the park. Visit a cool shopping mall or market. Go to a public space and just hang out, or sit at a cafe and do some people watching. I love people watching, because when you see strangers walking by and interacting with each other, your brain automatically goes into storytelling-mode. We make up stories about other people all the time. Some of these stories are short and simple: “That guy is really uptight.” And some stories are elaborate fantasies about what a person might do for a living, how he treats his friends and lovers and so on.
You’ve now learned about different ways how to fix writer’s block. Which one works best for you? Do you have other tips to share that help you get the words flowing?