Some creative writers argue that “writer’s block” is a myth, and that writers who insist on it are lazy ones who are looking for an excuse to procrastinate, rather than get on with the work/project. However, writers, do lack the inspiration needed to produce new work, or they experience a creative slowdown.
And there is a myriad of reasons for this writer’s block. It could be fear, anxiety and frustration stemming from a life change, the end of a project, the beginning of a project… almost anything.
Fortunately, there are as many methods to dealing with writer’s block as there are causes. We even had some writers share with us some of the tricks they use to back in the creative flow when their inspiration is suddenly dried up. Here is what they had to say:
Get Away From Your Desk
A concrete way to conquer writer’s block is to get away from your desk and clear your mind. Get up from your chair and stretch. You can take a 15 minute walk, go get some coffee, or even read an article or book. Writer’s often get the block when their mind is overwhelmed by all of the thoughts crowding their brain. Get away from the desk gives you the mental break you need.
This strategy works for Ejiro Lawretta, one of writers we interviewed:
“Last year I got a brief to write a work of fiction for a client and somehow I got stuck midway. It is the worst case of writer’s block I have ever had till date. I took time off and read a ton of stuff that did not have to do with the brief; creative and fun magazines, books, and articles. It helped take my mind off the subject matter. I’ll recommend taking time off the work or any form of writing and doing something fun you enjoy. Even though this always works for me, the best bet is to try different hacks and tricks till you find your best fit.”
Olamode Aturu also said:
“When you have a writer’s block I think it’s best to just take a break. I have found that the harder I try the more difficult it is. So I take a break, watch a movie, sleep. I know somewhere my brain low key pieces stuff together so when I get back to writing it’s always better.”
It sounds weird that writing could be the solution for not feeling motivated to right, doesn’t it? But sometimes, writer’s suffer a block because there is too much pressure to write a certain way and they are overthinking things. Letting go and just writing freely could help you overcome the block. A free write is a safe place and an opportunity to write a stream of consciousness about your topic to get the creative juices flowing. You are not bothered about grammar, complete sentences, punctuation or spelling. You just get your thoughts out for about 15 minutes and then immediately return to writing your book or article. The good thing is that the some of the free writing entries could even inspire new ideas for your writing.
Tomiwa Odujoko offers this advice:
“When the words I want to write aren’t free flowing, I keep a diary of some sorts. This means I just write about my immediate environment, what happened during the day, why my colleague felt entitled to the last bottle of coke in the fridge etc. The idea is to keep writing about what is known so as to kick start my imagination. Sometimes it works. So, let’s pen this point as, write the known to help kickstand the unknown”.
Tolu Toludo also said:
“I had issues with writers block when I was writing my First Book “Dead Lions Don’t Roar”…having a writing note/note pad – paper or physical can help us to overcome writers block. Most times when l don’t write down that initial thought/ideas I tend to forget and writers block sets in. But having it scribbled down is a great way to prevent Writers Block.”
Listen to music
Research shows that music has the power to improve mood and productivity. Music, therefore, can be a tool to help writers overcome the block and rekindle creativity. The thing, though, is that the writer needs to discover what type of music that appeals to the and helps them work best; that way they can make a playlist which they can turn on when facing a block. The writer can take a break and only listen to music or the writer can listen to the music in the background while attempting to rekindle writing.
Abiola A. explained how music works for him:
“I am currently having a serious writer’s block right now anyway, and I think this is the worst ever. 😥But I think it’s just because of all that’s been happening my brother’s fundraising campaign, work and all. The way I usually get through it is to spend a lot of time on the internet, YouTube precisely, watching music video that I find. The music helps, sad songs especially.”
Develop a writing schedule
This strategy is based on the belief that inspiration will only come if you push yourself to keep putting pen to paper each day. It also involves ignoring the writer’s block outrightly. You carve out a time to write and set deadlines for your writing. It could be a target of mere 500 words per day, or a schedule of 1 hour of writing every day. You can even find a writing partner with whom you can to hold each other to deadlines in an encouraging, uncritical way.
Here’s how it works for Yinka Owate:
“The worst case of writer’s block I’ve had was when I wasn’t able to complete a novel for two years. The tips I would recommend writers apply when dealing with writer’s block include:
1) Think about it, do you really want to continue and complete this book?
2) Look around for artefacts, books and videos related to your book for inspiration.
3) Write out a completion calendar- select the days you would need to write, and what chapter you would complete in one day.”
Work on More Than One Project at a Time
Sometimes strategies #1, #2, #3 and #4 do not work. Maybe you have been working passionately on a blogpost and all of a sudden you have no clue how to write the conclusion and maybe the entire content starts to look like rubbish-that-needs-rewriting to you. Some writers find it helpful to switch back and forth from one writing project to another. If you are blogger, you could switch from one article to another or if you a story writer, you can switch from one script to another. Doing that reduced the frustration and boredom and prevents or resolves the writer’s block.
Nkem Ndem offers this advice:
“For someone like me who gets easily bored with writing on a topic, especially if it is more then 600 words, what I do is write at least 4 articles at the same time. I do the research simultaneously and I develop the drafts simultaneously as well. It helps with wading off writer’s block and make the exercise much more interesting for me.”
The truth is, the writer’s block can be quite discouraging, but id does not have to be the end of your writing career. These creative ways are bound to to inspire yourself out of stagnations. And as Wendy Okeke suggests “… these tricks choose the individuals they work for. People react differently”.