Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How to Block 'Writer's Block"

Writer's block is worse than a bad cold. It's worse than a bad hair day and it's certainly worse than an injury.

It's an irritating and frustrating sting you feel in your head. And of course, it comes at the worst time.

But have no fear! I have found five tricks that can help you overcome writer's block.

1) Engulf yourself in poetry, songs or quotes

When you can't think of anything clever to write or have no inspiration, put yourself in a 'writing mindset' by reading other literature.

For example, when I want to be witty, I read Anne Sexton's poetry. When I want to be insightful, I read quotes. When I want to be funny, I read funny jokes (or listen to Dane Cook).

And 1 out of 5 times this works.

Just take five minutes to explore another writer's creative energy and you will feel their vibes penetrating your mind.

2) Write in a diary or journal

I have kept a diary since I was in fourth grade. The reason I keep writing in one is because I have found that whenever I sit down and scribble down the events of my day, I discover the most fascinating things about myself.

For example, I'll start writing an entry wanting to bitch about my sister but -- by the end of the page -- I will find that I wrote more about my latest crush. And sacrebleu! I accidentally discovered what was bothering me to begin with. It wasn't my sister, it was my secret crush who is too busy being an idiot to notice me.

And that's what I really think writer's block is. It's not this wall that is blocking the creativity from flowing into your brain. It's more like a pipe out of place. Once you find which pipe to fix, everything starts flowing.

(That might have been the worst analogy but you get the idea).

3) Read your own writing

When you have writer's block, everything you put on paper looks like crap. So boost up your ego by taking a look back at some of the pieces you are proud of. It will remind you of your style as well as lift your spirits.

4) Go to the bathroom, get a drink of water and eat a snack

Take no more than ten minutes to do this. You'll get a quick enough break that you feel "new" when you return to your computer, but it won't be long enough for you to lose focus.

I absolutely DO NOT recommend putting your assignment away and "coming back to it later." That never works -- especially if you are on deadline.

You'll not only find yourself procrastinating but you'll also stress yourself out -- which is worse than writer's block.

5) Know when you like to write and when you like to research

I'm a morning person. So I know I do my best writing in the morning to early afternoon. I'm more creative, more focused and have nothing to distract me.

In addition, I also know I do my best research in the evening. By 3 o'clock, I'm mentally drained of all my wit. As a result, I have less patience. I use this to my advantage when I research and review other articles; if I don't like what I'm reading, I move on to the next one.

I use my impatience as a filter through all the nonsense I read. So after I find something suitable, I save it for the next morning, when I'm refreshed and can write about it.

Hope these tips help! Have any others? Include them in the comments below!


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