There are situations where no words flow out of my head, fingers do not type a word and I have kept starring the monitor for hours.
Later I realized that this happens to every writer. It’s quite normal.
As an Author of 9 books, I have faced this situation many times & I have learned and applied many techniques to overcome this block to write efficiently.
Below, you can find some useful techniques which have helped me to write successfully. Don’t take all at once. Take any one or two, apply it when your mind gets blocked, check whether it works. Continue the technique if it works, otherwise, just dump it and try the other one.
1) Morning pages – Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, a stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. “There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages”, they are not high art. They are not even “writing. They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind and they are for your eyes only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page and then do three more pages tomorrow. This powerful technique I learned from the book “The Artist’s way” – by Julia Cameron.
2) Breathing – Practice Deep Abdominal Breathing Exercises for 5 mins before start writing. This practice will help you to supply loads of oxygen to your brain. Intricate parts of your brain will lit with energy and fresh ideas pour in.
3) Meditation – 5 minutes of silence practice will be a great boon for writers to clear up their head space so that fresh ideas flow by.
4) Don’t start with a blank page – Write a quick outline. Jot down a few notes. Write down that one, great quote you were planning to use. Tadaa no more blank page.
5) Write what you feel like writing– If you have a terrific itch to write one particular idea, then write that one right now. The more you go with your creative flow and write what you’re inspired to write, the easier it will beat writer’s block.
6) Start anywhere – Many writers sit staring at their screens because they’re obsessed with writing the first line of a piece first. Forget all about that. If you know how it will end, write that now. If it has bullet points, go ahead and write those first, if that would be easy. Once you jot down the part that’s coming naturally to you, the rest will start to flow.
7) Use your lifeline – That’s right, phone a friend, just like on the reality shows. Then, tell your friend about the topic you’re trying to write. As in all conversations, you will tend to naturally mention the most interesting points first. When you hang up, your piece is outlined and ready to go.
8) Don’t edit while you write– When you’re writing, just let those creative juices flow along. Don’t spoil the magic by stopping to fiddle with a word here or cut a line there.
9) Write something else – Write a shopping list or a letter to a friend. Once the fingers are moving, it’ll be easier to get the piece you were stuck on rolling.
10) Review your past writing – Whenever I was really intimidated by a writing assignment, I used to open my writing portfolio(saved documents or blog posts) and look through it. When you read your successful previous work, it reminds you that you are a strong writer, and you can do this.
11) Set a timer – Use the Pomodoro technique and set a timer for 25 minutes. Now, you have to work on your assignment until the timer goes. You can’t do anything else. That’ll get boring fast, and you’ll start to write. Try it if you don’t believe me.
12) Create a deadline – The problem with our own writing is no boss is standing over us insisting we get the writing done by a specific time. So create a deadline calendar of when your posts must be completed. Then, allow no recreation time until the deadline is met.
13) Turn off the Internet – Do you find yourself playing online games, mindlessly surfing or checking Facebook/twitter when it’s writing time? Write on a pad of paper/notebook instead, or put your computer on flight mode until you’re done writing.
14) Reduce noise – Are you trying to write with the TV or radio running in the background? That extra stimulus may prevent you from focusing on the writing. Hope you know that brains really can’t multi-task.
15) Change your location – Move to your bedroom, a coffee shop, a friends house, a co-working office space wherever you don’t usually write. See if inspiration hits.
16) Take a break – Take a half-hour break. Take a walk. Take a bath. Take a nap. Do a headstand get some blood flowing to the brain again. Then, come back ready to have at it.
17) All-six-senses exercise – settle yourself and, using a watch or a timer,
spend one minute writing down everything that you can see;
then one minute writing down everything you can hear;
a minute of everything you can feel;
a minute of what you can smell;
a minute of taste;
and finally a minute of
finally a minute of kinesthesia/proprioception, which is your body’s sense of itself in space: the pressure between your knees where you’ve crossed them, the pull of your sweater on your shoulders, the way the table-edge presses into your wrist.
It’s important that you do the senses in that order: sight-sound-touch-smell-taste-proprioception (body sense). With the later ones it’s sometimes hard to find a minutes worth to write, but don’t let yourself give up before the minute is up, Patiently staying with not-knowing-what-to-write is important because it’s the state Keats called Negative Capability: the space in which the creative mind gets a chance to work.
Select anyone from the above list and get rid of your writer’s dilemma.
You can also share any other strategy which helped you to get out this block and start writing.
Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.