As a media company that focuses on writing content, creative block is one of our biggest fears. For most people, it usually lasts for a few days, but it can go on for weeks, months, or even years. There are many reasons for it. Mental illness like depression or major emotional life events can heavily affect your imagination and may lead to long-lasting creative blocks. But simpler things such as a lack of motivation, evaluation anxiety, perfectionism, or even procrastination can make it increasingly difficult for you to put pen to paper, so to speak.
It’s important to know that creative block doesn’t always mean that you can’t write something. In fact, it can happen at any stage of the writing process, from idea generation, planning, articulation, to just getting started. Fortunately, there are many proven ways to overcome creative blocks. However, keep in mind that none of these strategies are one-size-fits-all. So, we recommend trying out different approaches and sticking with the ones that work best for you.
Take a Break
While taking a break isn’t possible for everyone – especially when there are deadlines looming – this strategy can be the solution when you’re stuck on a specific subject. Leaving your desk and coming back the next day helps you approach your writing tasks with fresh ideas and usually unlocks those first few sentences that are necessary for a smooth writing flow. This is mainly because your brain doesn’t completely forget about the problem you want to solve. While you go about your day, doing house chores or enjoying some leisure time, your subconscious keeps thinking about what you need to write, as well as logging ideas and processing problems.
Here’s the perfect example of how each strategy works very differently depending on the writer. Some professionals prefer to step away from their work for a few days, whereas others actually keep writing until they find inspiration. This solution might not be the best for perfectionists, as the strategy is based on the principle that you write everything that comes to mind (even if it’s ‘I don’t know what to write’). Of course, afterward you’ll need to edit out all the gibberish you wrote to unclog your creativity pipes.
Go for a Walk
Going for a walk is technically taking a break, but it deserves its own mention because many writers swear by it. If you feel stuck but can’t push your work to the next day, going for a 10-minute walk can do wonders to get your creative juices flowing. The change of pace and scenario, plus the relaxing vibes of going for a walk are perfect for unwinding and finding some inspiration. If you regularly exercise, you can also take advantage of your writer’s block to do your daily workout. Just don’t forget to bring a notebook with you to write down any ideas that come to mind.
Discuss Ideas With Others
Inspiration comes in many shapes and forms. For some, it’s those relaxing and lonely nights that make the ideas pop up. For others, it’s the complete opposite. Discussing ideas with other people – such as fellow writers, your editor, or content manager – can help connect the ideas you want to express in your next article or novel’s chapter. Trying to explain the subject that you need to write about to someone who doesn’t know much about it can be extremely fruitful. Besides helping you make sense of disconnected ideas, the questions others ask may serve as inspiration for the piece you’re writing.
Change the Setting
Whether you’re a novelist or a full-time content writer, you’ll usually have a favorite writing spot. However, as with any creative task, always having the same routine can lead to a creative block. In this case, the best way to overcome it is to change the setting – work at a coffee shop, the nearby park, or the beach. You can also try to change your writing method and see if that helps. For instance, if you always type on the computer, go for pen and paper.
Work on a Different Project
As we mentioned, having a creative block doesn’t always mean that you can’t write another word. Often, creative blocks happen either at a specific stage of the writing process or a particular subject. So, before you decide that writing isn’t for you anymore, try to work on other tasks. If you’re having difficulty starting on a new article, improve previous ones or come up with ideas instead. Can’t figure out how to write an introduction for a particular topic? Write about something else.
Do Some Research
Finally, it’s common for writers to experience creative block when writing about something they don’t know much about. In these cases, it’s always necessary to do some additional research – not only for inspiration but also to learn industry-related lingo.
Experiencing a creative block is scary! However, stressing about it will only make it worse. So, take a deep breath and apply these strategies to see what works best for you. We’re sure you’ll be writing again in no time.