If you’re reading this, you’ve probably been staring at a blank document for hours trying to overcome your writer’s block. And now you’re on the verge of losing your cool, à la Donald Trump at an equal rights rally. But don’t you worry — you’re going to make it through your writing rut.
I’m glad you asked. Here are four strategies to help you conquer your writer’s block:
Choose the right time to write
Let me start by saying this: There is no universal “right time” to write.
Different times work better for different people. Your job is to figure out which time works best for you.
Start by asking yourself if you’re a morning person or a night person. I’m not just talking about the time of day you prefer — I’m talking about the time when it’s the easiest for you to write and generate ideas.
You may find that you’re more creative in the morning. A study from the American Physiological Society shows that creative brain activity peaks directly after sleeping. Plus, other studies suggest you may have more willpower right when you wake up, making it easier for you to build an early morning writing habit.
On the other hand, if you write in the evening, you’ll likely find yourself less distracted by emails, since most people work during normal business hours. And you can use the experiences you had throughout the day to inspire your writing.
Try out both times and see which works better for you. Then build your writing schedule around your natural preference. Pick a time and commit to it daily for the best results.
Change your environment
Designating a specific place where you sit down to write every day usually helps you build a writing habit and stay focused.
But sometimes, waking up and making the daily 10-step
commute to your home office can put you in a creative rut. That’s because you aren’t exposing yourself to new people and places — you’re probably alone, staring at the same surroundings every day. That means there’s nothing new or interesting happening to inspire you.
The solution? Get out. Expose yourself to new stimuli for a quick creativity boost. Here are a few places you can try:
- A coffee shop
- A co-working space
- A friend and/or family member’s house
Seriously, if you’re struggling to write productively, try working in a new location tomorrow. Leaving your desk is a proven cure for creative block, so it’s worth a shot.
Make play a priority
Google is one company that acknowledges how critical play is to productivity and happiness at work. So, next time you’re feeling burnt out, embrace your inner child by:
- Building something with Legos, Lincoln Logs or K’NEX
- Playing a creative video game like Minecraft
- Buying an adult coloring book and coloring — it’s a great way to relieve stress
And yes, these activities will take away from some of your work time. The idea is that you’ll be so much more productive when you start working again that it won’t matter. So, play away.
Let go of perfectionism and write freely
It’s well-known that anxiety about making mistakes can stop you from achieving success. It’s possible to ride yourself of this anxiety, otherwise known as perfectionism.
First, work on changing your mindset. Realize that not even the best writers create error-free work every time. You’re going to fail at some point, just like everybody else does.
Heck, even well-known entrepreneur/writer James Altucher has admitted to failing big time. Just take a look at what he said about it on Reddit:
Whew. His failures make screwing up due to writer’s block seem like no big deal.
But you don’t want to fail all of the time, of course. So, when your perfectionism is holding you back from writing to the best of your ability, set aside some time to write freely. And by freely, I mean:
- Don’t worry about restrictions such as grammar and punctuation
- Don’t worry about picking the right topic
- Don’t worry about what other people might think of your writing
Seriously. Open up a blank document and write whatever comes to mind. And don’t judge yourself during the process.