Saturday, August 13, 2022

13 Ways To Overcome Your Writer's Block


No matter where you're looking for tips or tricks, everyone will tell you that brainstorming is THE way to overcome writer's block. Now lots of people don't like to sit down with a pen and paper and just start writing down anything that pops into their heads. But if you do, you just might be surprised by what you discover! For instance, I started this article with only a few ideas in mind. After I started brainstorming, I made it all the way to 13 (that's right - these are all from my own brain). To prove how it works, I actually took a picture of the brainstorming sheet I used. Take a look:

2. Writing Prompts

I often look at writing prompts, but to be honest, I've never written anything based off one. That leads me to believe that this suggestion may not work for everyone. It's lack of working for me doesn't change the fact that many people believe writing prompts are a great way to inspire original ideas. So, if you want to give it a try, click the link below and head over to my favorite generator.

3. Photo Prompts

I had actually never thought of this one until I read a list of prompts from Ginny Wiehardt. This activity involves taking a random photo and writing about it. The exercise can go many different ways. You can describe the photo in basic or vivid detail or you can describe any feelings the photo might evoke. You can also use the photo as base for something else entirely. The options are only as limited as your mind (which should be waking up now).

Word games are a great way to inspire thought, especially when you're stuck on nothing. I'm going to list 3 different word games that I find useful.

4. Synonoms

For this game, the idea is to write down a random verb and then write down every possible synonom you can think of for that verb. In doing this, you'll engage your brain in a fun activity, while also opening your eyes to different ways of expressing yourself. If you get stuck, just move on to another word. No peaking at the thesaurus!

5. Association

Name a random object, it can be the first thing you see. Now, write down every possible word that comes to mind. For example: Clock - time, ticking, distance, face, hand, watch, ending. That was one I came up with when I was trying to go to bed the other night. Since the chain of words kept going, I thought it might be useful as a regular activity.

6. Only 3

Anyone who has followed this blog for a long time knows I'm quite fond of the "only 3" game. I play this word game by writing with the "suggestive text" feature of my smart phone. The idea is that I only use one of the 3 words suggested - nothing else. I do occasionally backspace and choose a different word based on the suggestions. Of course, if you end up writing your own thing and forgetting about the game altogether, you've pretty much won! If you do use this trick, please share your writing!

That's it for word games. If you want to share something that has worked for you, make sure to leave a comment below! In the meatime, let's take a look at spinning ideas.

7. Lyrical Genuis

I haven't used this particular exercise in a long time, but I found it helpful when I was coming out of my 2012 writer's block. In fact, without this particular exercise, I don't know if I would have got back into writing poetry. For this one, I take my favorite lyrics from my favorite songs and print them out. I cut out each sentence into a line. Then, I shuffle all the lines together and draw at random. I use the already-written lyrics to create a new masterpiece. Of course, this is just an activity to inspire your own original thoughts. If you want to try this, but are drawing a blank for songs, click here to be taken to the random lyric generator.

8. Music Videos

I wrote a short story called "Wake Up Call" by using the baseline of the music video of the same name by Maroon 5. All you have to do is watch a music video you love and write it out as a story or poem. This exercise is helpful for those who are more visual than imaginative. You can do it with any music video too, which makes it extremely versitle.

9. Rewriting

Take existing content, like a short story by some random person online, and rewrite it. Put the words in your own voice and change whatever you would change if you had written the story. You can do this with poetry, prose, etc. It's technically content spinning, but it'll get your brain busy! I would only recommend this if you are absolutely stuck, like staring at a white wall in your own mind levels of stuck. If you do use this exercise, I advise not sharing the results. You don't want to hurt anyone's feelings.

10. Exchange Ideas

There's no secret that almost every writer gets stuck once in a while. In fact, any creative person has the potential to be stuck with no ideas. Often, this is the result of too many ideas fighting for attention. The result is a block of the well that we've all grown reliant one. This exercise is especially useful if you have friends who enjoy writing or are a member of any writer's guild. All you do is exchange an idea or a rough outline of something you've written. They do the same. You do what you can with it and share the end results. You never know what may come as a result!

The best way you overcome write's block is write, right?

11. Journal

I am guilty of ignoring my journal for weeks at a time. In fact, the last time I picked it up, I think it was 6 months ago, give or take. But, I can say that when I was regularly using my journal, I was regularly writing new content. That's not a coincidence. I just don't like touching on feelings and stuff, so I personally avoid it. Of course, you don't have to journal about deep thoughts either. You can write about your day, what you did, etc. It can be lighthearted and basic. I just can't take my own advice.

12. Write (Freewriting)

I know. How dare I include that on a list of ways to overcome writer's block. But you know what? Do it. Start with a word, any word. Follow it up with a few more. It's going to be total garbage or utter brilliance (there's no inbetween). But the more you write, even if it makes no sense, the more you're going to feel like writing and the better you'll get. You'll also be building a habit.

Well, the last suggestion is here and you're going to ABSOLUTELY love it:

13. Keep Your Brain Busy

I don't mean overthink everything. That would be counterproductive. I'm suggesting engaging activities that will keep your brain occupied, like word searchs and crossword puzzles. In fact, any puzzle can really boost your brain activity and wake up the muse that's sleeping somewhere in your head.

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