Breaking the Barriers of Writer’s Block

So you sit down, grab your notepad or open your laptop and nothing happens. Your fingers don’t move. Your brain says “peace out. Your foot taps the ground. Your jaw clicks and you bite your lip. And wait for it, wait for it, yup there it goes, the infamous eye roll. The true sign of defeat. This is writer’s block. 

/ˌrīdərz ˈbläk/

phrase of writer

  1. the condition of being unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing.

Every writer knows this feeling. You prepare to write and suddenly all of your creativity and inspiration disappear into thin air. Writer’s block is extremely frustrating and seemingly unavoidable. 

Never fear, OBP is here— and with some great tips to overcome your writer’s block.

Get Inspired

Let’s just state the obvious: get inspired. Go for a walk or a drive. Put on a playlist, be present, and really take in your surroundings. Observe and focus on being present during this exercise. What are people doing? What are they wearing? How’s the weather? What do the buildings look like? What sounds do you hear? Are birds chirping? Is there construction across the street? Explore. You never know what will spark your imagination and serve as the perfect muse.

You can also get inspired from the comfort of your own home. As mentioned in the “Writing Space Vibes” post, searching YouTube for landscapes is a quick and easy way to get a surge of inspiration. It’s most helpful to search for a landscape that matches your story. For example, if your story takes place in a beach town you can search “beach ambiance” for videos with ocean and waves sounds. Try this with any location related to your story (city, forest, library, coffee shop, etc). There is a video for just about every place you can think of!

Read

Throughout the writing process, authors can be overly critical of their work. This is especially common if you’re working on the same piece or topic for an extended time. Sometimes, you need to take a step back, pause, and get a birds-eye view of your own writing. 

Reading someone else’s work will shift your focus and help you relax. Read a book, article, or poem unrelated to your topic for leisure and entertainment. Reading another genre will distract your brain from hyper-fixating on your chosen topic. Becoming enthralled by a story will renew your inspiration for writing your own captivating works.

Pro Tip: Set a timer to prevent procrastination and get back to writing your own piece.

 

 

Free Write Sprints

Now that you’ve found some inspiration (or even if you’re still looking), it’s time to free write. Set a timer for 5-10 minutes and write for the entire time allotted. Don’t think about titles, grammar, punctuation, or anything detail-oriented. You don’t want to get hung up on the little things during this exercise; free writing is about big-picture ideas. Your free write does not need to be in well-written paragraphs— it can even be a bulleted list. Give yourself a random prompt, start with a sentence from your writing, or let your mind wander. Complete at least 3 rounds of free write sprints. Another technique is to circle one word, sentence, or idea from each sprint to write about in the next one. This will help create more structure within your writing sprints.

Try these steps and give yourself a well-deserved break. Don’t panic or doubt yourself! It’s ok to have some breathing room during your writing process. Remember that burnout and insecurity can also fuel writer’s block. 

All good writers are bound to experience writer’s block at some point. Give yourself grace and remember that good ideas sometimes take time. You are still a creative, capable writer and your ideas will come before you know it!

 

Authenticity

Writing Mechanics: Finding Your Narrative Voice

Writing Space Vibes