*This post was originally published on A Thing for Life, my old blog.
Raise your hand if you’ve been through a writing block. Anybody? No? Come on, no need to be shy. You, over there! Yeah, you. I just saw you half-raising your hand. Nobody’s going to bite you, come on, all the way up. A little more. A little more. There you go, see? Now you perfectly blend in with the rest of the group, come with me.
Imagine the immense, clear water is your writing flow and you are far, far away, all the way out where the mountains start to look faint. It’s a really long way, isn’t it? I’m sure many of you can relate. You’re feeling motivated, ready to go, and suddenly your mind shuts down. There are times when nothing seems to work, and all you want to do is crawl into your bed and stuff your face with chocolate… or sleep… or lay motionless while staring at the ceiling. It’s a phase everyone—or at least the majority of writers—has been through at least once in their life, if not more. It’s a horrible feeling, I know, but the good news is that it’s curable. Yeah, exactly! You can come out of that dark hole and go back to your happy place of writing unicorns and rainbows.
One thing that I need to point out, though, is that each writer is different, so what worked for me may not work for every single one of you. If you defeated your writing block, I encourage you to share your story in the comments, so everyone can find the right way to help themselves. We are a community, after all, so we should try and help each other in time of need.
Are you still with me? Good! This feeling fest is good for the soul, trust me. Sharing your struggle with someone else can make you feel less alone. Actually, being alone is the last thing you need in these situations, because the evil little writer inside you will take advantage of that and start whispering the most horrible things… You’re not good enough… Nobody will read that piece of crap you have just spent hours perfecting… What’s the point in publishing your work if you can’t even write one bloody page? And that is if your evil little writer is from Britain.
Before we go on, let me tell you a little story. Before relaunching this blog, I had a blog named A Thing for Life, and another blog for four years. A book blog, specifically. I received books from different publishing companies in exchange for an honest review and it’s been a fantastic experience. Unfortunately, towards the end, the pressure of deadlines became too much to handle and that resulted in me quitting. When something you enjoy doing becomes a burden and you feel forced, alarms should go off in your head that something is definitely wrong. You love writing/blogging and you don’t want to feel like that, do you? Exactly. So it’s way better to act and do something about this block before it gets to that terrible fate.
DON’T FORCE IT
This is my number one suggestion and the most important one, by far. If you need to write but you’ve been sitting in front of the computer for over an hour and the screen is still blank, get away from there and do something else. Writing is something that should come from passion. If you have to force yourself to write because you have to, and your blog cannot be post-less, or what others may think of you, you’ll only end up with some crappy writing and with an even crappier mood. It’s better to stay away for a while. I know some may have to fight with deadlines, however, remember that it’s important to take a little breather as otherwise you’ll start panicking and you’ll end up with something you’re not happy with.
USE YOUR BLOCK AS A STARTING POINT
When I woke up this morning, I literally dreaded entering my home office because I knew I had to sit down and seriously write something—otherwise I would have no post to promote next week for my blog. I tried to avoid opening a Word doc as long as I possibly could, checking my inbox, catching up with my social media channels… Then it hit me. Why don’t I write about my block and how to get out of it? So, here I am. 🙂 Sometimes the key is to use your own weaknesses as a leverage and make them your strengths. It’s very scary to talk about our flaws, especially if we are not very confident about ourselves. However, as Harley Quinn preaches, we should own our sh*t and move on. We have simply come across an obstacle, and the best way to overcome it is to embrace it. Let’s find our inner strength and show everyone how powerful we are!
LISTEN TO MUSIC
Music is a great source of inspiration itself. The majority of writers and authors use music to get inspiration for their stories, so why shouldn’t you? I am listening to my Spotify playlist as I’m writing this post, but it’s not like I’m using the music to find inspiration on WHAT to write. I’m not even listening to the songs, I just use music to let my writing juices flow, and it works great. Like I close my eyes and I let my fingers type what they need to type… Not that I’m doing it for real, though. I mean, I know where the letters in the keyboard are and I’m pretty good at writing without looking at the keyboard, but I feel that if I closed my eyes I’d just get it all wrong. Just let the music flow to your brain and connect with your feelings, and the rest will come naturally.
EXPLORE YOUR OTHER HOBBIES
I know, that sounds like procrastinating, but it’s not really like that. OK, maybe it is, but that’s not the point. Find a game that you like (whether it’s a board game, a game on your phone, or computer) and play it until your mood has improved. Games can be a source of inspiration too. Not only because you can talk about the games you like in your writing but—since your brain has managed to shut the evil little writer up—you can come up with new topics to write about, too. For example, I love to play The Sims, and there are times in which I literally play for hours. However, playing with my Sims has made me think of a few ideas for posts—not necessarily related to the game—and also reflect on things that I would like to do with my blog in the future. Brain multitasking, people, brain multitasking.
Go to Starbucks. Or Costa. Or wherever you go drink your favourite hot beverage. The main point is, take some fresh air. Bring a notepad with you for when inspiration strikes. Observe people around you. No, I don’t mean staring at them until they start to feel uncomfortable, you weirdo! Just observe. You’ll see people with their laptops, business men/women having meetings, women with the cutest babies. You never know what kind of ideas these strangers might inspire. And you’ll get another chance to see that handsome barista you’ve been eyeing for months. However, if your block strikes on a rainy day and you’re home-bound, no need to flair your arms dramatically in the air. Download Coffivity on your phone (available for Android and IOS), put on your earphones, close your eyes and it’ll be just like you’re in your local coffee shop. I tried its Morning Murmur once just for fun, and it’s a very relaxing, calming sound… so much that it made me yawn twice… Yeah, maybe try not to sit on the couch or the bed. Yes, your dining table will do. 🙂
These have really worked for me, so I hope that they can be helpful to someone else.
Have you experienced a writing block? How did you overcome it? Share your story in the comments!