Writing is one of the most stressful skills to learn.
It requires transforming your loose thoughts into a solid masterpiece on the screen. Sounds easy as it sounds. Right? Not so much if you zoom in on the process. You need to brain dump ideas, organize the flow, knit the right words together, and add your personal touch to the whole story.
Some writers got it down. They power through one post in a couple hours and immediately they get recommends and responses.
But for some of us perfectionist (that includes me), we constantly get stuck writing-backspacing-editing the same sentence over and over again. Sometimes, we can’t even type a single word.
It’s like no matter what we do, the words just won’t come out of our heads and nestle on the blank screen. Writer’s block is a nasty thing that destroys writers from within. And most of us suffer from it.
If you’re one of those writers, don’t give up. Writer’s block is not an illness that can’t be cured. It’s merely a confusion happening inside your mind. What you can do to shatter this block once and for all is to overstep this fear of failure and follow these simple hacks.
40 little hacks to break writer’s block
First step: Relieve your emotions
- Drink as much coffee as your stomach can handle.
- Curse and swear at everything and everyone.
- Be angry.
- Be emotional.
- Pull your hair.
- Throw paper all around you.
- Shut off your computer.
- Turn it on again.
- Breathe in.
- Breathe out.
2nd step: Refocus on writing
Once you’re calm and accept the inevitable situation, it’s time for the real deal.
12. Focus on the screen and the screen only.
13. Get rid of all distractions. Social media and email can wait.
14. Free write. Just start typing whatever comes to your mind. Don’t let your fingertips rest until your thoughts have passed.
15. Pick another writing platform. Word, Google Doc, Calmly Write, Draft, WordPress, or any other you can think of.
16. Work at a different place. The park, your favorite café, the library or the living room — go where you feel comfortable and inspired.
17. Brainstorm. Brainstorm. Brainstorm.
18. Organize your ideas in bullets.
19. Create a rough outline of what you intend to write.
20. Don’t force yourself to write.
21. Go outside.
23. Hit the gym.
24. Do yoga.
25. Take long walks across the city.
26. Rest your mind.
27. Travel to a place that means something to you. Your parent’s house? Your best friend’s?
28. Do something creative. Paint, cook, complete a crossword puzzle or play some mobile games.
29. Read a book you love. It’ll remind you of the kind of writer you aspire to be.
30. Dust off your old family albums. Let these memories give you the fuel you need to continue writing.
31. Replace the screen with a pen and paper. It’ll feel more meaningful.
32. Create a writing routine. Return to your words at the exact same time every day.
33. Break your routine. Write at different hours and pinpoint when your best performance comes out.
34. Ditch perfection. Don’t let those old grammar rules overwhelm you. You can always edit the first draft later.
35. Skip the beginning and start writing another piece of your post. Return to the intro when you’re ready.
36. Return to your previous posts and reread them. You’ll be astonished how far you’ve gone since then.
37. Add something new to your writing. Metaphors, idioms, uncommon phrases or words, quotes or even rhymes are all great additions.
38. Don’t pity yourself.
39. Stop making excuses.
40. NEVER ever stop writing.
Simple exercises to defeat writer’s block
Write the same thing for two weeks
Maya Angelou had a great tactic. She recommended writing the same thing over and over again until your Muse comes into your room. For example, she’d write “the cat sat on the mat, that is that, not a rat” every day for two weeks.
Yes, it’s boring. It’s stupid. But strangely, this keeps you going. Because what matters most is to write at least a single word each day.
The writer’s cube
To broaden your thoughts on what to write, Kim Keeline suggests using the cube to chase away the writer’s block. It’s simply writing the same topic in 6 different ways. Every side of the cube represents one perspective. It goes something like this:
- Side 1: Define what you’re writing about.
- Side 2: Compare your topic to others. What do they have in common? What makes them diverse?
- Side 3: What feelings does it stir up in you?
- Side 4: Observe all aspects of your topic. What area is it in? What is it made of? How does it work?
- Side 5: What impact does your writing have on others? Do they find value in it?
- Side 6: Make a pro/con list. Describe why the topic is worth writing about and why it isn’t.
“And then…” exercise
This is a short, but helpful exercise when you struggle with writer’s block. Think of something random and connect a bunch of other words to it.
1st sentence: “One morning, Kayla left her house.”
2nd sentence: “And then she bought a sandwich from the bakery around the corner.”
3rd sentence: “And then she met Garry, the new student in her class.”
4th sentence: “And then they worked at the coffeeshop together.”
The possibilities are endless. And as much as it may sound silly, it will put your thoughts in order and bring you more ideas.