Writer’s block is something we will all inevitably face at some point in our lives. Whether we write creatively, blog, or have a university/school assessment, the dreaded wall hits us all. This is something I experienced regularly this year, having started my blog and taking a Drama with Creative Writing degree where I have lots of assessments (including one where I had to write a novel!). No matter how hard you try you just can’t seem to beat it, right? Well, wrong, ish. Although it seems impossible at the time, there are some things you can try to beat that block and start writing again. Here are my top tips that have saved me this year.
- Create the right atmosphere (or write atmosphere, get it?!)
One thing I have noticed since being required to write a lot is that I often need specific conditions to help the creativity flow. These vary between what I am writing, but atmosphere is still very important to me. In general, I like to have a gentle smelling candle, some fairy lights and fresh air, as long as it isn’t the dreaded English Winter! If I’m writing an essay I need silence but if I’m writing a blog post I often enjoy some music with it. My creative writing is somewhere in between. Experiment with what works best for you and you’ll soon relate these conditions to writing, which will soon help you beat the block.
- Carry a notebook
Carrying a notebook is something I learnt in my first ever creative writing class in my first year at university. I will never forget my lecturer telling me you should always have a small book and pen to hand, because you never know when inspiration will strike. Now you will often catch me walking down the street jotting down all the odd and wonderful things you hear from people watching or passers-by. I even use my phone for notes, which works just as well. Over my three years at university I’ve written inspiration for stories, recorded my thoughts for a blog post after leaving the cinema, and even frantically recorded my genius essay plan which tends to click at the most inconvenient of moments.
- Look for inspiration
Sometimes we aren’t all fortunate enough to hear a stranger’s story which inspires a full trilogy. If you’re struggling to write, don’t be afraid to look for what you need. Whether you’re constantly reading books or watching films, scrolling endlessly through WordPress, walking through your city, everything is inspiration. It’s commonly said that nothing is an original idea anymore, so don’t be afraid to turn to others for help. Of course, plagiarism is illegal and can get your work disqualified at university or you’ll find yourself with a hefty fine if you steal someone’s book, but take these ideas and turn them into your own.
- Plan ahead
I have a small notebook filled with plenty of blog post ideas. Most I have never touched because I’m always hit with new ideas but these plans are always there for days when I’m stuck. In fact, this post was actually a backup plan for days writer’s block is taking over! I always find it helpful to have a plan of what I actually want to write, whether it’s an academic essay, a novel, or a blog post. It helped me get through university to graduate with a first and is slowly helping my little blog.
- Keep to a schedule
Finding the time to write can be difficult with all of life’s responsibilities sitting in the way, so nothing is worse than being hit by writer’s block in your only spare hour of the week. Despite being extremely organised, I’m not really one for keeping a writing schedule (much to my lecturer’s disappointment). However, I know many successful people who always write before breakfast, only write at 6pm, or whatever suits them. I find being this precise doesn’t work for me at this point in my life so I try to set writing goals instead. I always aim for at least one blog post a week and I have a monthly feature which helps me stick to a schedule.
- Write, write, write.
Just write. You heard me. Write. But how can I write when I have writer’s block, as you’ve just spent five previous points trying to beat? Well, sometimes the only way to beat writer’s block is to write. Take anything that comes into your mind and throw it on the page in a stream of consciousness. Your writing will most likely be terrible, be warned, but that’s okay. You may throw all of the word vomit away and start again, or you could find some inspirational gold within. If you really want to write you can force your body into it and sooner or later it will work with you.
Writer’s block is a big pain in the behind but it can be easy to beat if you try. Whether you’re a natural born writer or you’re forced to answer a question you’re still not sure you understand for an exam, we all suffer from the dreaded block at some point. Don’t sit in front of a blank wall and suffer, try some of these top tips instead! Hopefully they help some of you beat the block and get your creative juices flowing.
What are your best tips to beat writer’s block? Happy writing!