We've all had moments where writing has gone from being a relaxing, relieving activity to being a stressful, laborious task. Of course, when you've got the feelings flowing and the anger, excitement or passion raging, words spill from your hands easily. You know what you want to say and how to say it. But when writer's block hits, it's no fun, especially not when it's the night before an assignment is due. When writer's block has got me down, I like to use these few tricks to try and get my creative cocktail flowing again.
There's nothing like the buzz of caffeine and sugar when you're down with writer's block. The sugar high turns the gears in my brain much faster than I can even write, and those two hours until I crash are prime writing time.
2. News Patrol
Scroll through the news, whether World News or pop cultural or whatever floats your boat. I try to get ideas from what's happening in the world today, especially if I see something that makes me angry. Unfortunately, that happens a lot more often than I'd like it to.
3. Read Something Funny
I have a collection of Garfield comics that I keep by my desk at all times. When I'm stuck or when I need a break, I love flipping through and reading my favorites. Jim Davis never fails to make me laugh. Most of the time, this tactic doesn't help me get ideas for writing, but it's a really fun way to pretend I am.
4. Read Old Journal Entries
You never know what kind of gold you'll find in your old journals. I found this while trying to find inspiration for this article. It's an old college research list, when I was trying to decide what I wanted to do with my life. I think it says a lot about me. Certainly made me laugh, and it helped me come up with this item for the list. Win win.
5. Make a List
Make a list of everything you know about the topic, even if all you know is the title of the topic. Sometimes seeing everything on paper in front of you helps you figure out what ideas you want to connect together. From there, it's a simple matter of playing connect the dots.
6. Talk About It
One of the most important lessons I learned from my high school English teacher was to collaborate. Your list is next to useless if you don't have anyone to talk to about it. Talking with other people gives you a diversity in thought that you just can not achieve alone. You'll be surprised at how much another person's own unique version of life can change the conversations you have.
7. Watch a Lot of YouTube
My personal favorites are Ellen and old celebrity interviews. What can I say, it's a guilty pleasure.
8. Take a Shower
It's true. Many times, the best ideas come to you while in the shower. You're relaxed, you're happy to be clean, and bam! It hits you: the perfect way to open your essay. It's funny, it's clever, it's daring.... they'll be knocked off their feet.
It's supposed to activate your right brain, I think. I don't know, I'm gonna go color til I figure it out.
10. Just Do It
When it's the last possible moment and you can't procrastinate--I mean, gather inspiration--any longer, just sit down in front of the keyboard and type, my friend. Fake it til you make it. You'll find your way into the argument sooner or later.