Have you ever sat down to write a paper, a story, a poem, or even just a text and are at a complete loss for words. Do not fret; writer’s block is a natural part of the human condition. I know, it’s odd to be writing about writing. And while this is all probably going to get very meta, I would just like to point out that by writing about writer’s block I am hoping to get rid of some writer’s block.
I am a writer. I write plays and sketch comedy when I’m not consumed with writing papers -- which to be perfectly honest, I sometimes enjoy more than writing creative pieces. As someone who spends almost as much time typing as being awake, being a writer has become a part of my identity. Which is why writer’s block terrifies me to no end. Even when writing this very article, for example, I had so many ideas and topics swirling around in this crazy cerebral vortex that I could not effectively write out a single one. Set phasers to panic.
Of course this wouldn’t be the first time I’ve experienced confusion and frustration over what to write. With almost every piece I’ve written, whether it’s an essay, a short story, a poem, or a play, there seems to come a point where I just cannot think at all. And that’s okay. Sometimes your brain needs to take a breather. If your brain is anything like mine, it pretty much never stops thinking. I don’t say that to try and sound smart or anything; I just tend to overanalyze almost any situation that I’m in (fun!). Perhaps that’s where some of my writer’s block stems from, maybe I’m just scared of writing “the wrong thing.” Whatever it is, here are some steps that I try and take to unclog my brain:
1. Breathe. Try it. It’s relaxing and should actually be involuntary.
2. Scream if you have to. I don’t usually scream every time I get writer’s block, but sometimes even just letting out an exasperated sigh is helpful.
3. Free write. I cannot stress this enough. Just write anything that comes to mind. It doesn’t have to sound professional, it doesn’t have to sound academic. Free write in your own voice, I promise some of your best ideas will come from that.
4. Remember that you are a person. People tend to have a lot going on. Don’t get in your own way by beating yourself up over writers block.
5. Just stop writing. Not forever. But for a few minutes, a few hours. Take a break. Eat a snack, take a walk, talk to a friend, pet a nearby animal. Your mind will keep working on your piece subconsciously (scientists, correct me if I’m wrong, I’m just speaking from personal experience), and once you come back from your break you might feel more relaxed and focused.
6. Take pleasure in writing. Take pleasure in the frustration. Think about how much you will have overcome once your piece is finished.