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10 Practical Tips for Beating Writers' Block

by David K. William | The Web Writer Spotlight: Nov 17, 2011

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Whether you are a novice or seasoned writer, you will sometimes feel too "tired," "blank" or devoid of inspiration to write. If you are feeling this way, you may have hit writers’ block. Sitting around doing nothing does not help solve the problem. You need to tackle the problem to beat it. Here are 10 practical tips for beating down writers' block that can help stir up your creative mind and overcome the creative blockage.


1. Switch to another project


If you have been working on a particular project for a while and you hit writers block, set the project aside and switch to another project. There is no law that says you have to work on projects in a particular order. Tackle projects you are itching to work on first and when your creative juices are flowing again get back to the initial project. You won’t do much good in the way of productivity and quality if you persist on a project that your mind pleads to get a rest from.     


2. Change scenery


Working in the same environment day after day can get pretty old. Relocate from your normal workspace and try working someplace new for a while. Even moving to the next room in your house can bring a welcome change of scenery. You could also try the library, park or nearest coffee shop for a change just as long as it is different from your normal workspace. Changing scenery can whip a fresh breeze of thought and stir your imagination to get writing again.


3. Engage another art form


Apart from writing, you probably have another art form you enjoy or are good at. When writers block hits, it is probably the best time to indulge the art form. Paint, draw, go dancing or play your favorite musical instrument to soothe your creative mind. After a while of engaging your other favorite art form(s), you should feel more relaxed and rejuvenated to get back to your writing.


4. Read a favorite book


An effective way to overcome writers block is to read the work of others. Read your favorite book, magazines, websites, blogs or even an exciting new fiction piece for the pleasure of it and to jog and rejuvenate your creative mind. Check out our Resource Center to find a list of best websites and blogs for writers you can read as well as handy tools you can use to beat down writers' block, including inspiration and idea prompt tools.


5. Listen to soothing music


Music can be a powerful medium for soothing and relaxing the mind, body and soul. Play calm and soothing music in the background as you work or lay your work aside for a while and just sit and listen to soft and soothing songs to unwind and collect your thoughts. This may be all you need to get your creative mind working again.  


6. Watch an inspiring movie


Some writers are visually stimulated. If you are this kind of writer, watching an inspiring movie that makes you laugh, cry or scared might just provide the stimulation you need to get your writing projects moving again. Watch a favorite or new movie at home or head out to the cinema to watch the latest blockbuster release and enjoy yourself while gathering all the inspiration you need to get writing.


7. Watch/read the news


News stories online and offline recount raw stories of everyday people and real life happenings that can be a great source of ideas for new or stalled writing projects. Turn on your television news channel, pick up and read your daily newspaper or browse some of the many online news magazines to fill your ideas vault with real life stories you can use on your writings and to expand your vocabulary.


8. Exercise your body


Exercising helps to increase the flow of blood in your body and boosts concentration and self-confidence. Go to the gym or even your karate class and immerse yourself in the exercise drills to get your blood and adrenaline flowing, as well as to keep your body and brain in tip top shape. You'll probably find you are more energized to get back to writing after the exercises.


9. Get out in the open air


Sometimes simply setting your writing aside and performing simple activities you love out in the open air can soothe and stimulate your mind back on track. Go out for a leisurely walk, jog or swim or simply walk your dog around the block to relieve stress and give your mind a much needed break. After the fun activity out in the open air, you can take a long shower to cleanse the body and mind before getting back to your writing project.


10. Take a nap


If you still can’t get any ideas going, it may be possible that you have exhausted your brain of project ideas for one day. Take a nap for a short while to "cool" your brain. If nothing clicks even after taking a short nap, sleep on the project overnight. More than likely you will wake up the next day rejuvenated and refreshed to tackle your project with renewed vigor.




Awesome responses

All the suggestions above are spot on. They address creative fatigue. I've used them all. I find, in any area of my business, that I do better when I take a break at the times I feel dull and uninspired. Sometimes, just taking a 20-minute walk to get my mind off everything enables me to return invigorated. Conversely (and almost in opposition), I have also found that it helps me a lot to think of myself as a professional who is not dependent on inspiration. The plumber does not depend on inspiration to get to work. So, I can tell myself: I feel like working, I go to work: I don't feel like working, I go to work. Very Buddhist. Since I help people to write memoirs, I must write every day--want to or not. In addition, I must produce marketing copy both to attract writers and to attract memoir professionals who teach my workshops around the world. So...I can't afford to work only when I am inspired and I can't afford to entertain writer's block. Thanks for the list of good suggestions.
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