Writers’ block occurs all the time, and seems impossible to avoid. There are, though, steps you can take to prevent it, sometimes before it even starts happening. Here are some effective ways to kickstart your brain.
1. Write Down Ideas As They Come To You
Not being able to come up with ideas is the worst. You’re ready to write, but you don’t have the engine you need to get rolling. The best way to circumvent this particular brand of writers’ block is to have a lot of ideas already at your disposal. You’re going to come up with ideas when you least expect it, and you should always be prepared to archive them. You can use your smartphone to note your ideas. You can use a a barebones writing app like Drafts to get the ideas down as quickly as possible, and a note taking service like Evernote to compile them for future use.
2. Commit To Your Idea
Sometimes you might not be 100% confident with your idea, and your indecisiveness prevents you from turning that idea into something tangible. Instead of being productive with the idea you have, you’re spending all your time trying to come up with something better. After a while, though, you stop deliberating and start stalling. If that’s the kind of writers’ block you’re suffering from, just accept that your idea isn’t flawless and start executing it as best you can. The idea isn’t nearly as much the power of a story as the words that tell it.
3. Be Far Enough Ahead To Work On Whatever You Want
A lot of writers’ block doesn’t occur because you can’t write anything. It’s because you’re stuck while you’re working on a particular piece of writing. If you have more than one type of assignment, be far enough ahead in your schedule that you can work on the project you’re most inspired by today. If you do only have one kind of assignment, look to diversify your writing responsibilities so that you can avoid unnecessary writers’ block and significantly increase your productivity.
4. Break The Writing Process Into Multiple Parts
I didn’t write this article right from start to finish. First, I took some time to wrap my head around the topic. Then I chose sub-headings. After that, I drafted a basic outline. Only then did I start writing. Because of that pre-work, the actual writing was much easier, leading to fewer roadblocks on the path from pen to paper. Make it as easily as possible to avoid writers’ block by doing as much preparation you can before you even start the hard part.
5. Go To Where Things Stopped Working
A lot of the time writers’ block is a subconscious warning that what you’ve already written isn’t working. If you’re experiencing writers’ block, peruse what you’ve already got down and see if there’s a part of it in which you swerved right when you should have taken a hard left. Then go back to that wrong turn and correct your course.
6. Jump Ahead
Your story doesn’t have to be written chronologically. This article wasn’t. If you’re experiencing writers’ block because you’re not excited about what you’re “supposed” to write next, jump to a point in your story that you are excited to write. As long as you’re careful with your revisions, no one will even notice that parts of your story were written out of order.
7. Turn What You’re Stuck On Into A Writing Exercise
Not sure where your story should go next? Make a list of all the directions your story could possibly take. Don’t worry if some of them are ridiculous; the point is to loosen your writing muscles. Once you’ve limbered up you’ll be ready to rock.
8. Don’t Dread
Writers’ block is so often rooted in fear. You’re scared that what you’re about to write won’t be good enough, or won’t meet your wild expectations. That dread is debilitating, so get past it by not taking the time to feel insecure. Just start, even if you’re not convinced of your abilities, because time spent stalling is better spent writing, even if you throw all of it out. You’re already at your keyboard, so don’t hesitate to type away.
Featured photo credit: Sharon Drummond via flickr.com