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Navigating the Wilderness of Writer's Block: Tips and Techniques

Navigating the Wilderness of Writer's Block: Tips and Techniques

Time passes slowly as you find yourself staring at a blank screen. It takes everything within to not bang your head against the keyboard and scream. You want to quit. You find yourself in the middle of an existential crisis–asking yourself questions like: Am I really a writer? Will I ever have an original idea again? Do I even like writing?

Does this sound familiar? Despite how it might feel internally, you're not dying–but you might be experiencing writer's block.

Writer's block is a phenomenon where writers feel "stuck" and lack any ideas. It's usually a period when writers find it difficult to write or come up with anything new. And it always seems to come at the most inconvenient times. If you're currently trying to navigate the wilderness that is writer's block, you're not alone. There are many ways to overcome this obstacle and start writing again!

Get Curious

Overcoming your writer's block starts with getting curious about the cause. You might think the reason for it is you're a phony or you're unoriginal and untalented, but that’s probably not the case.

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Those who have studied this phenomenon have determined it’s usually caused by feelings of self-doubt, inadequacy, or even perfectionism. Often, the cause has nothing to do with your talent or even your writing.

Especially if you're a professional writer, it can be tough to be creative on demand. If you’re going through a difficult time, it’s hard to push the negativity aside and create, so it makes sense that you may feel stuck in your writing when dealing with self-doubt or other negative feelings.

If you're not sure what is causing your writer's block, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What's bothering me right now?
  • Do I feel confident in the work that I'm doing?
  • Do I enjoy the work that I'm doing?
  • Who am I comparing myself and my writing to?
  • How much creative freedom do I have in my writing?

You might feel unsure of how you're feeling or how to even answer these questions. That's okay. Start by placing a notebook by your computer or writing space. Next time you sit down to write, pause, and reflect on how you're feeling at that moment. Jot your ideas down in the notebook. 

After a few times, you may notice a pattern in how you’re feeling that can help you determine what’s holding you back.

Get Creative

Whether you're a content writer, a novelist, or a poet, creating words takes creativity. There are numerous causes that can lead to writer's block, but no matter the cause, creativity is an essential remedy.

The key is to find a unique way to express your creativity. Instead of sitting down at your desk and forcing the words to come, be creative in a different way. Sometimes, even a change of scenario can do the trick.

This could look like sitting outside in nature and writing down observations about what you see or hear. It could look like creating something you wouldn't normally create–if you're a content writer, you might write a short story or a poem. 

If all else fails and you can’t think of what to create, find a writing prompt that gives you a place to start. Avoid focusing on how great the writing is when responding to a prompt. It’s important to just get something down to get back in the habit of writing.

Sometimes, you may need to focus on finding something that inspires you. Here are some other ideas for ways to overcome writer’s block with creativity:

  • Practice freewriting and write down whatever comes to mind
  • Listen to music while you’re writing
  • Read a favorite book for inspiration
  • Go for a walk outside
  • Talk through your writer’s block with a trusted friend or colleague

For this to be effective, focus on activities that require you to be engaged and creative. Laying in front of the TV may make you feel better temporarily, but it won’t help you overcome your writer’s block.

Get Moving

If you're really deep in writer's block and feel stuck, it's okay to take a break. Distracting yourself can be a temporary fix and it might even help get your creative juices flowing again.

But sometimes, you just have to get moving. If you have multiple projects that you're working on and you can switch to another project, by all means, do so.

If not, commit to continue working on your current project. Even if it's a little bit at a time. Commit to writing 500 words or commit to spending 30 minutes writing. You can determine what works best for you, but you may find that once you get writing again, the words will flow again and you'll no longer feel stuck.

Writer’s block may feel terrible, but focusing on how bad you feel or how difficult it is won’t help you move on. It may be tempting to despair because that’s often easier than finding motivation and pushing through challenges. If you’re serious about being a writer, you’re going to have to keep writing, no matter how you feel. 

Conquer Writer's Block with Hire a Writer

There's no way around it–writer's block stinks. Thankfully, there's no rule that says you're doomed forever or you have to stay stuck.

Writer’s block might look different for everyone but more often than not, it’s caused by some form of self-doubt. You might not think you're capable of completing the project, you might be comparing your work and skills to someone else, or you might be questioning whether you're meant to be a writer in the first place.

Take some time to reflect on how you're feeling and then move on. There's always time for you to continue learning along the way and if you are learning, we want to help. At Hire a Writer, we help writers hone their craft and build a successful business. If you want to learn more and avoid writer's block in the future, subscribe to our blog!

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