A writer’s greatest battle is between him and a blank screen, or a sheet of paper, if you still prefer the old way. Battling against a looming deadline only comes second.
I’m willing to bet you’ve suffered from the hurdle of a writer’s block at least once in your life. Personally, I think I may have had a face off with this enemy every single time I am working on a writing assignment! It comes in so many forms, but the effect is still the same--a creative slowdown.
A writer’s block is an umbrella for all sorts of mental and creative blockages, which is why it is often considered as a huge, insurmountable hurdle. Most cases of writer’s block are commonly caused by the following: timing, distraction, and fear.
Among the three, it is fear that often leads to creative paralysis. You may have an idea, but you’re scared it might not be the right one or the right way to tackle it. Or you begin exploring a concept, and do actual writing, but at the middle of your work, you stop because you’re unsure of where you and your content is heading. After all, I’d like to believe that any kind of writing can grow a life of its own as it is being formed. In cases like that, the skill of restraint comes in handy to ensure that you can guide your writing into the expected output.
Given that writer’s block can spring from various reasons, let’s try to break it down to its different reasons, and identify solutions to each.
Maybe you’ve run out of ideas, or you’re in a creative rut. Whatever it is, you can’t get started because you don’t have anything to start with. Ironic as it may sound, you’re done even though you haven’t even started.
What you can do:
Although I have to disagree with the above mentioned problem, as I think that there can never be an absence of idea, people who experience it can overcome it by simply beginning to write.
Do free-writing exercises. You don’t have to write about something spectacular at that instant. Ideas are always there, and can be triggered by even a simple object. You could actually write about your realizations on your previous project, your breakfast, or even the yellow paperclip on your desk. It’s a matter of getting your fingers or hands moving, so your brain would follow suit.
Consult other writers.
A conversation can stir up your brain for ideas. You can exchange thoughts with your friends and colleagues to get your creative brain muscles working.
A great online resource you can check out is EduGeeksClub writing service. It’s a group of professional writing assistants that you can consult with regarding your writing process. Their competent writers and editors can help you get started with your idea through insightful comments and guided discussions. Moreover, EduGeeksClub offers proofreading, formatting, and editing services for instances you need to focus on just the actual writing, leaving you more time to focus on that task alone.
Problem: I have a lot of ideas in mind, but I can’t pin one down.
The thing about having too many ideas is the risk of an incoherent content. You will tend to put everything you want to say into your writing, but without sufficient and effective substantiation. You don’t want an output that’s all over the place, do you?
What you can do:
Organize your thoughts by mind mapping.
Mind maps are your thoughts laid down and dissected with the use of visual cues and codes. This process can help you untangle your jumbled thoughts, and put them into order. Identify your main and central concept, then work your way to a coherent outline as you branch out subtopics. This way, you also get to enrich your thoughts as you work with your visual outline. MindNode is an app you can use for easier mindmapping, especially if you work with a number of gadgets.
Plot an editorial calendar.
A mind teeming with ideas can be advantageous for writers like us. We don’t have to put everything in one go. It would be wise to have an idea bank, where we can select one, and work on that for a content. Keep in mind though that ideas can peter out, unless we note them down.
The best way to handle an idea bank is to have an editorial calendar. You can lay down your ideas and the appropriate story angles for each, and schedule a date for its output.
Problem: I find it difficult to express my thoughts in words.
I admit to having encountered the same in my writing experience. Sometimes, writers look for the word that would be a perfect fit to their ideas. The search for that word can take some time though. The next best thing you can do? Don’t say or write a word then.
What you can do:
Communicate via visuals.
When words fail you, you’ve got images to talk for you. After all, didn’t they say that a picture is worth a thousand words?
In addition, visuals add a layer to your content through the use of colors and shapes. Visual content is also more appealing than text alone, especially if you are targeting to publish your output in social media platforms.
Helpful apps for this aspect are ThingLink, which allows you to include interactive images and videos in your content, and Easel.ly, which provides you with a wide range of templates for your infographic needs.
Problem: I need my Muse to inspire me.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but that’s not a problem. That’s an excuse that keeps you from writing. You’re either without an idea to begin with, so see answers to the top most problem, or distracting yourself from distraction...and the number one form of distraction at this age are your social media apps.
So if you want to produce great content, disconnect from your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Messenger.
Stay Focusd is a Chrome extension that prevents you from wasting time on online activities other than work. You identify the websites that you want to block after you used up your allotted time per day for browsing through them.
This way, you can still go visit your social networking sites, but you’re more mindful of the time you spend on them unless you want to temporarily lose access to those sites once you’ve used up your time.
Another great app you can use is the Pomodoro time. You have the option to set up the amount of time for work. Say, you settle for 25 minutes, which means you need to work for 25 minutes straight, without getting distracted. Once time is up, you can take a short break. Cutting your working hours into short segments keeps you focused on the task at hand, and makes sure you’re consistently productive throughout the day. Frequent breaks also prevent your mind from being overworked.
Author's bio. Karen Dikson is a writer and blogger from New Jersey. She finds her inspiration in reading and travelling and she cannot imagine her life without writing. Connect with Karen on Twitter.