Writer’s block is the bane of many writers’ lives – but it is not one of those things we need to take lying down. While many people recommend that you should simply look at writer’s block as a sign that we need to slow down, there are some tried and tested tricks that will let you work through writing block, sometimes before it even takes hold.
Three tips to bulldoze slow or stalled writing
- Relax – while many people find it difficult to relax, it’s true that relaxing can actually help. Remember that there are deadlines that need to be met, but you’ll find that if you look at getting something on paper rather than the whole piece, for example that something might spark. But it’s important to ensure that you actually *relax*. Many freelancers should learn and practice meditation techniques, and ensure that they’re igniting passion, not creating more issues for themselves. Deep breathing can also sometimes give the mind the chance to focus, so keeping things in perspective can often let you unlock an idea that you might overlook as worthless.
Meditation doesn’t work for some – so I’d suggest getting up, stretching – going for a cool shower – even doing the dreaded chores – sometimes I’ve found that when I’m most stuck, doing the dishes and just letting my mind idle allows me to unlock the potential of the ideas hiding underneath the conscious thoughts I’m chasing around, and gives me whole new perspectives.
- Plan the night before – I’ve found that having a to-do list that tells me exactly where I need to be and what I’m doing, including ideas on articles that I want to write can often help me ‘wake up’ and get past slow moments in the morning, that could develop into me believing I have writer’s block. Sometimes it’s not really writer’s block, it’s just procrastination because of fear, so I’ve also got a limit on the things I’m allowed to do to procrastinate. While social networking is great for the active freelancer, it can also create a bit of a problem if you are prone to distraction. So I use a piece of software to keep track of where my attention is and ensure that I don’t spend more than my allotted time on sites such as Facebook and twitter and where possible, I try to use URLs onsite to post to them instead of logging in. I’ve also got a ‘rule’ about playing games on sites such as Facebook – in short, I don’t, because that doesn’t let my mind engage with the subject at hand.
- Learn and grow – writer’s block often comes from your mind telling you that you don’t understand what you’re writing about, so if you really can’t see a perspective that’s either fresh enough to interest someone reading about it, or you’re sure isn’t quite right, keep researching. It’s possible, sometimes to get the wrong end of the stick, but even when you’re not on a contract, I think writers should always read. Whether it’s because we’re passionate about literature and writing and enjoy reading, or because we always want to learn, it is part of the job description that writers should read.
If you’re not dealing with writer’s block after all of this, even if you’re on a deadline, the only solution is to walk away, or look at another job. It’s critical to understand that writer’s block that goes on over one or more projects, or you really can’t shake is a sign of something more serious – either you just can’t get your head around the project and need to talk to the client – perhaps they have other resources they can point you in the direction of, or worse, you need to take a break. In the case of the former, you’ll probably need to move the deadline – but in the case of the latter, you should consider taking some time off to recharge. Writer’s block can rapidly turn to writer’s burnout, especially until you get into the swing of things.
The nightmare caused by writer’s block can also cause sleep pattern issues however, using copywriting services may help you back to slumber-land.
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