You sit at our desk with the blank white page of a Word document open before you. Your job? Fill the page, and then the one after that, and the one after that. It seems simple, but there are days when that task becomes so laden with doubt, fear, and apprehension that words just will not come. We call that writer’s block, and just about every writer has faced it.
Most skilled writers know that the feeling will pass and that the words will come again, even if getting them out onto the page is agonizing. Less skilled writers take this as the status quo—it will always feel impossible to write. They let a temporary state define their writing experience.
There are ways to get over writer’s block and get ideas flowing. Here are several:
- Take a break and think about something else for a while—though be careful not to let the break extend indefinitely.
- Go for a walk and think about your writing—movement will increase your brain’s productivity.
- Talk through your project with someone else.
- Read what others have done—though you must avoid the temptation to plagiarize.
- Read over your own work for inspiration.
- Write everything you can think of about your topic until something strikes you. Then take that and write about it until great ideas start flowing.
- Break the task of writing into stages and try to complete just one (such as coming up with a topic, brainstorming ideas, conducting research, writing an outline, or determining a focus or thesis).
Whatever your strategy, the most important thing is that you don’t let writer’s block stop you from enjoying the creative intellectual endeavor of writing. Once your ideas start flowing and you get into the zone of writing, there’s nothing better.