You’re sitting there, staring at the screen. You decide to check your favorite blog. Then your email. Then your Twitter. Still nothing. You type a few sentences and hastily rampage all over the backspace key. It’s happened again hasn’t it?
[Insert dramatic music here]
Whether you are working for a client, writing a blog post or even creating a forum post, writer’s block has a habit of sneaking up out of the shadows at the worst of times. These four quick tips offer ways to grapple with this meddlesome beast and get back to cranking out words.
Change Your Scenery
Let’s face it–as freelancers, we tend to be pushing the borders of productivity a bit too much sometimes. If you find yourself lost for words, consider getting up and taking a quick walk or even moving to another room for a few minutes. Especially if you’re on hour six of all your all night writing binge.
If you insist on continuing to work, grab your notepad or smartphone. Sometimes, a quick break and change of surroundings is all it takes to get the juices flowing again.
Make Noises… No Seriously… Make Noises
I know what you’re thinking… “Talking to yourself? Singing randomly? Hooting like a disgruntled simian? You can’t be serious Jon!”
Sure, you might come off like a gibbering idiot for just a few minutes. But I’m not saying that if you’re at Starbucks, you should break out into Thriller or a rousing rendition of The Safety Dance and for the love of all things holy, please don’t bust out the Harlem Shake. Fit you noise making to your surroundings accordingly.
By switching from typing to vocalizing, you are triggering different parts of the brain and creative process. It doesn’t have to relate to your work, it doesn’t even have to be intelligible. Get up, force out some sounds and you might be surprised what comes out on the screen or notepad afterwards.
Kick it Old-School with a Pen and Paper
There is something different about writing on paper instead of your computer. If you’re looking to slay the beast that is writer’s block, the pen may well be mightier than the sword.
You do not have to work on your current piece. You don’t even have to write. Doodle if you want! Relive those High School days of decorating your book cover or notebook. Spell your name in block letters. Draw pictures of your cat wearing sunglasses. Just get the pen on the paper and start moving!
After a few minutes, try writing again. Sometimes inspiration comes from the least expected of places. Who knows? Your inspiration for this piece could be lying in wait disguised as a badly drawn stick figure…
Unless your deadline is looming, it might be time to switch gears. Just because you feel the need to submit your project two days ahead of schedule doesn’t mean you should.
When you are not in the mindset for a specific project, your quality will always suffer. How many times have you fired off a blog post or article on something you were truly passionate about and shocked yourself with how amazingly full of awesome the final product was?
Now think about how many times have you been amazed at the quality of a piece that you loathed writing and drudged through like a sloth?
See what I mean? If you’re forcing the writing, it shows in the final piece. Obviously, switching gears is not always an option. If that’s the case, see the points above and check out this post by Julie Ladd. However, when it is an option, you might find that switching projects for a little while brings you back to the original piece with a fresh perspective or new-found interest.
Do you have any tips for busting through writer’s block? Any additions to make to these tips? Have a video of yourself serenading Starbucks patrons with the Safety Dance? Family Freelancer wants to know! Just leave a comment in the boxes below!