If you’ve been writing for any length of time, you’ve experienced writer’s block. You’ve had those days when you spend hours staring at a blank page and never write a word. You’ve had those days when you start a dozen poems or stories only to discard them after jotting down a few lines. You’ve had those days or weeks or more when you can’t even think of anything to write about.
Good writing requires skill, but it also requires creativity. It’s easy to see the need to be creative if you write fiction or poetry, but if you write nonfiction, you might not realize the important role creativity plays in the process. The fact is, in today’s increasingly competitive market, editors look for work that will capture the reader’s interest and imagination. They look for authors that will bring something new and exciting to the table, regardless of the subject matter.
If you want to make money writing, writer’s block can be devastating. Even if you just write for your own pleasure, writer’s block can be frustrating. And it happens to the best of us. It’s so common that many writers just accept it as part of being a writer.
The truth is that there are ways to break through even the toughest case of writer’s block. Even if you’re not suffering from writer’s block, these techniques can bring fresh ideas and new life to your writing. The next time you get stuck, try one of these simple tricks to get the creative juices flowing again.
Write in a new and different place. If you normally write in your office, try writing outdoors. If you normally write at home, try writing at a library, bookstore, or museum. If you normally write in a quiet, private place, try writing in a coffee shop, on a bench at the local shopping mall, or on a bus.
Write at a different time of day. If you normally write in the morning, try staying up late at night to write. If you normally write in the afternoon, try getting up early to write.
Read something different. If you usually read or write nonfiction, pick up some poetry. If you normally read and write fiction, flip through some scientific journals.
Write with your non-dominant hand. I know it sounds silly, but it often works.
Use a different medium. If you normally write on your computer, try writing by hand. If you normally write with a ballpoint pen, try writing with a magic marker or crayon. If you usually write on plain white paper, try writing on colored construction paper or large sheets of newsprint. Indulge your inner child and write with colored chalk on the sidewalk.
Start at the end, and work toward the beginning. This works well if you write fiction. Start with the end of the story, and work backwards.
Take a fieldtrip. Go somewhere you have never been before, or somewhere you do not normally go. If you are the indoor type, go for a walk in the woods. If you usually listen to rock music, go to an opera. If you know nothing about art, visit a museum.
You’ll notice that all of these suggestions involve doing something different. If you keep doing the same old thing, you’re likely to get the same old results. If you get stuck, try something- anything- new. The results are sure to surprise you!