Every writer that ever lived has been visited at some point by this beast. Writer’s block feeds on perfectionism – your desire to write the perfect sentence or plot the greatest story.
Writer’s block is like quicksand – the more you fight it, the worse you get stuck. Remembering this is the first step to learning how to beat it. Here are two methods that I learnt while studying writing at uni.
For those who are unfamiliar with this term, “freewriting” is the process of liberating your creativity by removing limitations. Welcome whatever words spring to mind and banish self-judgment until the editing stage. I find kickstarting the process with a snappy 15 minute time limit helps too.
Remember that writer’s block feeds on perfectionism. Use freewriting to train yourself to ignore your own destructively high standards and just get the words onto the page. The first draft is supposed to be shitty! So free your writing!
2. Take a Walk
Just like quicksand, you have to stop struggling against writer’s block before you can get unstuck. An incredibly easy way to avoid making your writer’s block worse is to take a break. I recommend taking a walk around the block – even a small dose of physical activity helps to unclog the mind. It can have the same effect of sleeping on the problem – your brain keeps working towards a resolution even while your mind is relaxed.
Tip: With both of the above methods for beating writer’s block, try shaking things up. Maybe writing by hand instead of typing will get better results. You could even try recording your voice in a stream of consciousness. Decluttering your creative space can be refreshing for your mind too.
I hope this helps! Write to me in the comments to share your tricks for unlocking creativity and beating the dreaded writer’s block. Good luck on your final week of NaNoWriMo!