It happens to everyone. You need to write something, but the blank computer screen (or, if you’re old-school, the blank piece of paper) looks as untouched as new fallen snow. No matter hard you try, you can’t get past the first few words. Sound familiar? You’ve got a case of writer’s block!
Although writer’s block can seem insurmountable, here are a few tips to help you climb over it. First, I suggest that you start with some prewriting exercises. Try making a list of important points or try clustering.
Start with a topic; write it down in the center of a piece of paper and draw a circle around it. Then think of ideas or points that naturally branch from this topic. Write them down and connect them to the main topic with lines. Eventually, you should have a connected cluster of ideas to work with.
Another option you may want to try is freewriting. Write about anything for 15 minutes. Don’t worry about grammar or spelling or whether the idea is stupid. Your main goal is to let your thoughts flow freely and to get words on the page. Afterwards, you can reread what you’ve written to see if you’ve got anything you can use. Even if you decide the you don’t like any of it, at least you’ve written something, and that often makes it easier to write something else that’s more on topic.
A related idea to freewriting is blindwriting. Write with the light of your computer screen turned down so that you can’t see what you’ve written. Some people find that this helps their ideas flow more freely.
Brainstorming with someone else can get your ideas flowing. You may find it’s most helpful to have someone ask you questions and prompt you with related ideas. If this is the case, I suggest you visit a writing center if you are able–tutors love brainstorming sessions. If this isn’t possible, find a friend or family member who’s willing to do this with you. Sometimes simply bouncing ideas off someone else is enough to get you over your writer’s block.
If you’re not in the mood to try any of these options, you may want to simply try switching up your routine. If you normally write longhand, try drafting on your computer, or vice versa. If you normally write in pen, try writing in pencil. If you generally write in your room, try going to a library or coffee shop.And if nothing else works, set your writing aside for a short amount of time. When you come back to it, you may be able to look at your writing in a new way.
For more ideas, watch this video on seven ways to beat writer’s block. (Disclaimer: although I did not make this, I wish I did). Good luck with your writing!