As a writer, there’s nothing more frustrating than staring at a blank computer screen waiting for inspiration to strike. Writer’s block happens to even the most experienced professionals, but there are some tips and tricks you can try to overcome it. We’ve put together some of the most effective strategies for getting through that creative slump.
Do you find yourself constantly checking your social media pages, thinking about household chores you need to accomplish, or watching ‘just one more’ episode of your favourite show? Set aside a block of time to write and eliminate all those distractions – unplug from the Internet, turn off your phone, and focus entirely on the page in front of you. Clearing your work desk so that it’s clean and uncluttered can help to put you in the right frame of mind for an uninterrupted writing session and you may find apps such as Ommwriter or FocusWriter helpful for distraction-free typing.
Writer’s block is often caused by the fear that what you are producing isn’t good enough – putting pressure on yourself to create a perfect first draft can result in high stress levels that paralyse creativity. One way of overcoming this is by freewriting – writing whatever pops into your head without editing, evaluating, or constraining your ideas. Don’t worry about spelling, grammar, or staying on topic – set yourself a timer and just write down your natural thoughts. Freewriting often leads to new and inspiring ideas that can jolt you out of your funk.
Try another creative activity
If the words just aren’t flowing, try another creative activity that exercises the same parts of your brain. Painting, photography, graphic design, scrapbooking, interior design, flower arranging… anything creative can help to stimulate your writing project. If you prefer to stick with writing, sometimes switching between projects can help minimise the fear of failure or boredom that can lead to writer’s block.
Start in the middle
Writing the first chapter of a novel or page of a manuscript can be incredibly daunting, especially for novice writers hoping that an agent will pay attention to their work. Rather than starting at the beginning, choose a section from the middle of your story and start there. Once you’re feeling more confident about your writing abilities you can return to the first page with a better idea of how your story will develop.
Find a peer group
Joining a writer’s group where you can ask for help and feedback, share ideas, and motivate each other to keep writing is a great way of maintaining momentum. Alternatively, sign up for a professional writing programme. As an MA student at Falmouth University you’ll get all the benefits of a writing group as well as tuition from industry experts, a fully developed portfolio, and invaluable career advice from scriptwriters and academics across the creative industries.