So, your muse has left you. You can be sad about it, sit and look at a clean sheet and feel sorry for yourself. However, the right thing to do is to do at least something.
Many greatest authors suffered from writer’s block for some time. Jack London, Leo Tolstoy, Virginia Woolf and many others ones faced this unfortunate problem. However, they still managed to create timeless masterpieces and become a part of the history. If also experience this problem and don’t know how to overcome writer’s block, maybe the following tips can help you out.
Writer’s block can often be a consequence of a simple boredom. If you sit in your room everyday trying to come up with some ideas, they may never come. Go out and do something! For instance, Arthur Conan Doyle never suffered from writer’s block. Maybe the reason for it is that he was incredibly inquisitive; he loved cricket, skiing and long walks in the open air. Follow the lead of this great writer and be more active.
Perfectionism can be a flaw
It is one thing if you have an amazing idea and you want to turn it into a masterpiece. For example, Gustave Flaubert’s famous novel Madame Bovary is only 487 pages long, but the writer worked on it for more than five years. He tried to perfect every sentence and make every line perfect. It is another thing if you play perfectionist even before you write anything. Don’t think every sentence through for hours before you write it. Create the whole thing and then you can be a perfectionist when you edit it.
Change your working schedule
Many writers have stuck to a strict daily routine – Stephen King, Haruki Murakami, Susan Sontag and others. However, they all managed to find this specific time for their work process, when they feel most inspired. If you sit down with your laptop every day at 10 a.m. and in two hours you have nothing, maybe you haven’t found your perfect creative routine yet and you need to keep experimenting.
Swear out loud or on the paper
Revealing your emotions through words is a nice exercise if you are in search of creative energy. Give way to your feelings – anger, resentment, irritation. Focuse on writing your paper! At the end of the day, there is nothing more precious than real human emotions; only true emotions can evoke actual response in readers.
Of course, you will edit what you write under these emotions, but the most important thing is this burst of energy that you put into your work.
Make a plan
Yes, it sounds quite boring, but it actually works. Take a notebook, a personal organizer, an iPad or whatever is good for you and write down a strict plan. Write everything that you need to do for a day, week and month. Now you don’t have time for any writer’s block because it is not in your plan.
This is a very common way of overcoming writer’s block among creative people. Nothing brings more energy and inspiration than visiting new places, seeing new people and trying new things. Even if you go to places you have been to before, it is still a change of your everyday rhythm, which is good. Go anywhere! Go to a next state to visit your aunt. Go to a lake on the other side of the city. If you can, go far away to a place that is nothing like your home. Traveling is proved to be one of the best antidotes to writer’s block.
Try to start from the middle or the end
If you have problems with starting your work, begin with writing the middle or the end of it. When you finish that, it will be easier to come up with the beginning. If you don’t know how to help writer’s block, this may be a great thing to try.
Don’t be ashamed of adopting and remaking other people’s ideas
The idea of creating something radically new is great, but quite unpromising. It is not a secret that everything has been created before us. However, it doesn’t mean that we cannot put a new slant on old things. So, borrowing ideas (I’m not talking about bold plagiarism, though) is a good start for your own creative work.
Wise writers know that nothing comes out of nowhere. All the modern art and modern writing is based on something created before. There is nothing absolutely original. Someone may find this thought depressing, but it also can give you hope. As French author Andre Gide said, ”Everything that should be said, has already been said. However, as not everyone heard it, you can say it again”. Writer is a collector – he collects good ideas; only those ideas that inspire him.
You can get a notebook for such inspiring ideas. It can be actual paper or a laptop. Gather all the ideas that you like to this place and you can use them later when you suffer from the writer’s block.
Carrot and stick policy
A writer’s block can go away if you think of some treat for yourself. Think of something nice that you can get only when a part of your work is done. It can be anything: a cup of coffee with sweets, an episode of your favourite show, etc.
Take a break
Sometimes sleeping helps (you never know what your dreams will be like and plus, when you lie in bed, you can also think of something interesting). You need to write your dreams down even if it is the middle of the night; they can help you with your writing.
Watch a movie or go out. New things give impulse to your brain. Cook something, play with your pets or go to a play. Forget about your writing for a while.
Motivation is needed in any job, and especially if you are a writer. Good motivation can push you to your dream, make your hands work and your brain generate creative ideas. Set a goal. Create a dream. For example, changing this dark world for better, earning money for a fancy villa or writing a novel for a person you love.
Reading is one of the best things for overcoming writer’s block. You can read motivational books, theoretical literature that teaches you how to write, your favourite novels, etc. Reading makes your brain and imagination work. That is exactly what you need for this situation.
Set unusual goals
If you are bored with your writing, think of different literary techniques that you haven’t tried before. Set unusual goals and make your writing different. You can do the following.
Come up with extraordinary metaphor on specific topic;
Use litotes, metonymy, personification, periphrasis, etc. in your text;
Make your text about 30% shorter;
Use ellipsis, zeugma, parallelism, etc.
Write a text out of two parts of speech (verbs + nouns, verbs + pronouns, etc.).
Listen to the sound of rain, sea or wind (or whatever sound you find nice)
Chicago University research showed that an average level of noise doesn’t disturb a working process. Moreover, it has a positive impact on the results of this work. Why should it be just noise? It is better to think of a sound that you really like and play it if you can. There are different sounds you can find on the Internet starting from the rote and finishing with the clink of Tibetan cups.
Take a stroll, walk around a room, wash dishes, take a shower
Yes, that’s right. Have you ever had an epiphany while showering or just having a walk in a park? The thing is that our brain is able to produce good ideas not when we concentrate, but when it is relaxed: it is the time when bright ideas and innovatory thoughts come to mind.
Walking is also a very good activity for generating ideas. Take a walk around some nice park or forest, look at nice views and ideas will definitely rush into your head. If you are too lazy to leave your place, you can at least wash dishes. When you do it, your brain usually turns off and your subconscious comes out, which is the best thing for a writer.
Try any of these things and hopefully your muse will come back to you. Good luck!
Alyce is an inspired blogger, private tutor and educational consultant who is passionate about everything related to writing. Now she has found herself as a private consultant/educator, providing seminars and workshops to teachers of English. The focus of her presentations is how to motivate students to enjoy writing and to help them in becoming creative and proficient writers both for their pleasure and coursework assignments. She loves to share her experience in these fields. Stay tuned to get more actionable tips about writing!