BEAT THE BLOCK
In the world of writing, writer’s block is an inevitable beast even the most valiant of writers must take on. After all, writing full time is not for the faint of heart. Luckily, there are a few tricks of the trade to keep the brain functioning and the creativity flowing even when the ugly beast is breathing fire in your face.
1. Turn the computer screen off. Sometimes, the brain can get caught up in “rules” of writing…grammar, spelling, punctuation. Typing with the screen off can be an easy way to set yourself free from the restraints of your sixth grade English teacher’s nasty rules since you won’t be able to see any “mistakes” made while typing. Focus on putting down good content so when it comes time to see what you’ve written, the writing will be full of substance, not rules.
2. Change up the scenery. Take your laptop outside on a sunny day. Sip an espresso at a local coffee shop. Or simply move to another room in your house. Whatever you do, change it up. We all know routine can become stagnant, and a new scene gives your thoughts the freedom to explore new territory.
3. Forget the norm. Change your font color…and font for that matter. Who said that writing had to be boring and plain old black and white? Choose a font and/or color that’s representative of your mood and personality. Feeling frustrated? Write in bold red. Happy? How about yellow cursive? The point is, get away from the norm and you might just find a favorite new way to get the word out.
4. Make an outline. Writers can often become overwhelmed by a large project. Outline the main aspects of your work, then go back and begin to flesh it out with details. Developing an outline organizes your long work into workable and attainable pieces making the writing process seem a lot less daunting.
5. Draw a map. (This is the outline for the visual learner.) Remember making idea webs in junior high English class? Well, you’re not too old to get back in the habit. Start by circling the main idea in the middle of your page, then branch off with relevant subject matter and branch again with supporting details. Pretty soon, your ideas are thoroughly represented visually on a page, and the writing process becomes so much easier.
6. Keep a list of ideas. As a writer, pen and paper are your tools, and you should never be without them. Keep an ongoing list of topics and ideas, writing them down as you think of them. This way, your idea well will never run dry.
Have another way to beat the Block? Share with us. We’d love to hear your ideas.