Writers often complain about sitting and staring into a blank page or a computer screen, not being able to write a single word. This situation of extreme unproductiveness has been lovingly nicknamed as ‘the writer’s block’. But there have always been prolific writers all the time. Earnest Hemingway used to sit next to a typewriter and bleed words, apparently. What does it takes to sit and bleed words? Is it effortless? Is it really possible?
As it turns out, it really is possible to deal with the writer’s block. Everyone who has of the habit of writing professionally or otherwise will face this phase now and then. Paying a little attention to your life in general and writing in particular can make you go way past the block and let words flow beautifully.
When you sit down to write, you might feel that your words are stuck inside somewhere and are hesitant to come out. In fact, it takes longer to get a first line written down than to get the entire article neatly planned out. It is way simpler and effective to fill an already planned out structure than to sit and wait for that perfect first sentence to arrive. While planning the structure, make it a point to imagine the audience for your writing, the proposed length of your article, the tone which needs to be maintained etc. Once the ideas get clear in your mind, you will witness the uninterrupted flow of words which will take you to that writer’s paradise.
Finish the content first
Of course, the captivating beginning holds the attention of the reader. But if you struggle so hard to make it perfect in the first sitting itself, gear yourself up to face the biggest writer’s block in town. In fact if you write the first lines last after finishing the entire content, you might be able to create that dramatic curiosity which is essential for any spot on introduction.
Take a break
Sometimes it just does not happen. You need to take a break, go out for a walk or listen to some music and come back to the blank page with a fresh and energized mind. Taking a short break helps more that staring at a blank screen frustrated for long hours. If you are at an office, which does not permit you to go out and take a break, take ten minutes to execute the spring-cleaning for your desk drawer.
Go to sleep
If you are sure that you are stuck and will not be able to move an inch forward, why would you burn the midnight oil? Go to sleep. Sleep will help you to process your varied thoughts. Surprisingly, most situations of being stuck will get resolved when you go for a good uninterrupted sleep. In addition, most people write better when they sit down to write in the mornings after a good night’s sleep.
Shift your work space
A change in location will help de-clutter your mind and get the required flow of words. If you are bored of spending time thinking at the regular workstation, grab your pen and notebook and find a quiet corner in the cafeteria or a different room. Take some time to look around you. Sometimes and old-fashioned pen on paper style of writing will help.
Clear the distractions
Internet can really play with your mind and distract you from minions to cupcakes in microseconds. If you intend to finish some work, do your online referencing and copy whatever relevant information you would need. Close your web browser, switch off your mobile phone and sit to write. You do not need to chitchat with your long lost friend on face book right now. That can wait. If you can get fifteen minutes without any distractions, you will realize that it is the most productive minutes of the hour.
The most important step to conquer the writer’s block is to write. The first lines you write might be terrible nonsense that will never make any sense to you or any other sane person. Nevertheless, write it down. You are the only person who will know that the first draft had some shitty lines. Do not bother about being redundant or being irrelevant. You can delete the lines when you edit later. You might even find that you have designed a gem when you let the words arrive in a free flow.
Take care of yourself
There seem to be no connection between one’s health and writing. However, you could not be more wrong. Mind is not the only instrumental thing in the thought process. You need your body too to be up to the mark. The mind stays sharper in a healthy body. Eat right. Get adequate exercise. Your alertness and mood is significant in keeping your productivity high.
As a final step, when nothing seems to be resolving your writer’s block, talk to the client. Never be embarrassed to be open about your being stuck with the topic. Only a good writer can expose herself in that way and admit her writer’s block, especially to a client. The client will be able to and most often is overtly happy to elaborate about the requirements and the ideas they have in mind. A clearer brief from the client is a goldmine for excellent content. So shy you not. Talk.
Finally, if you’re really stuck, don’t suffer in silence. If you can, talk to someone who understands your subject and see if they suggest anything useful. If you’re working for a client, don’t be embarrassed to phone them for more guidance on how to approach the topic. As long as your questions are to the point, they’ll probably be glad to lend a hand (and impressed at your attention to detail). And if you’re not in a position to get subject-specific help from anyone, phone a friend – sometimes, just talking through your problems can take the pressure off and give you the motivation to get going again.