There are many reasons that you may suffer from ‘writer’s block’ or ‘writer’s anxiety’, but when it grasps you with its cold, halting hand, you’ll want to be free of it as quickly as possible. After all, when progress is hindered, you may never finish that book – and it does nothing for productivity or your piece of mind.
The good news, there is plenty you can try to alleviate your mental block and get your creative juices flowing freely again. Try the following and see what works best for you. You shall be back to your industrious old self in no time!
Seek a distraction… for a while
If you’re stuck, don’t stress: remove yourself from the situation for a while. Avoid writing and avoid doing anything related to the subject you’re writing (or meant to be writing) about. Set aside your writing and go for a walk, do some shopping, read, or watch a film. If you type, avoid a screen, and if you write manually, avoid stationery. Leaving your book writing behind for a while will allow you to go back to it with a clearer head and feeling refreshed. Don’t leave it too long, though, or you may never go back!
Ask yourself: what if?
When fiction writing, try broadening your story with the ‘What if?’ technique. What if this character did this? What if this was the background of this character? What if the primary location of the story changed completely? You don’t have to change your saga at all, but playing around can give you some room for blue sky thinking and bring out some new inspiration.
When lacking motivation, take the basic carrot and stick approach to your work. Each time you finish a paragraph, a page, or a chapter, give yourself a small reward and use this to motivate yourself to write more.
Change your environment
A change of scene can work wonders for clearing your mind and sparking new inspiration. Thankfully for your bank balance, if not your social media feeds, this doesn’t need to mean travelling off to an exotic island, but just anywhere different from your usual surroundings. Nip away for the weekend if you can, by all means, but if not, try moving your desk somewhere different, sitting elsewhere in the building, or sitting in a coffee shop or library.
Add in some background noise
Lots of people say they can’t write without some noise in the background, but even if this normally isn’t you, give it a go. Having a television on may suffice, but music can really work a treat as it so often invokes memories and emotions which can lead to other inspiration. Play around with sound levels and genres and you may soon find something that has you scribbling away!
Everyone feels apprehensive at writing once in a while, and there’s not a writer on the planet that’s never felt ‘stuck’. Such a block is always temporary and a key consideration to keep in mind is that it’s totally normal – stay calm, shift activities, and get through it.