medium_4086837507There’s nothing worse than sitting down at your computer, staring at your little curser going “blip, blip, blip” and thinking “_____________________________.”

Perhaps equally as terrible is thinking that you nailed it, but then suddenly crashing up against that wall-of-blank just before you reach your climax.  Meet the unfortunate phenomenon known as “Writer’s Block.”

Simply put, writer’s block is the worst.  But what can you do about it?  Fortunately, there are a few block-breaking tactics that can help you tear down that wall!

Take a Break

The most common trigger of writer’s block is simple burnout.  Writing for hours on end, day after day, will wear out any brain.  Just like athletes need recovery time, writers do too.  So give your mind a break!  Let it momentarily escape the complexities of grammar, syntax, word choice, idea formulation, and all that sophisticated garble that muddles your thoughts.

Depending on the level of your burnout, you may require anything from a quick trip to the drinking fountain, to a three year hiatus (a high school essayist being the former, an expert novelist being the latter).  Take the time you need to let your burnt-out brain cells regenerate!   

Go Around

A writer trying to force his/her way through writer’s block is like a runner trying to charge their way through a concrete wall.  It’s an utterly pointless endeavor.  Instead, take a step back and look for another way around.

This is where creative writing can save your hide.  Rather than taking a straight-forward approach, think metaphors, stories, fun facts, and opposites.  One of the best tactics is to take two, seemingly unrelated things, and find a way to connect them together.

Just check out the commercials that ran during the Olympics.  They are filled with unusual juxtapositions, clever angles, and enticing stories.  Because really – what do chicken nuggets and gold medals have to do with each other?  Apparently, everything! 

Seek Stimulation

As I sit here writing about writer’s block, I’m imagining Emma Thompson in Stranger Than Fiction, sitting in the rain near a bridge, smoking a cigarette, and trying to visualize death via a car accident/drowning.  She was letting all her senses help her feel the words she was endeavoring to write.  After all, writing is about translating our senses into words.

In your mind, visualize your writing coming to life.  Physically go somewhere that could inspire you, like Emma Thompson’s character did.  Jumpstart your senses by touching, smelling, and listening to something – anything – that is more exotic than your computer.  Suddenly, writing will become all about living, not typing.

Not only will these tips help you get around your writer’s block, they will help you spice up all your writing.  And who knows, maybe you’ll even find your work going viral on social media!  Start using these tactics today and see what barriers you can break!

photo credit: Stéfan via photopin cc

Jamie Bates