PS has worked as a freelance writer since 2012. When she's not traveling and writing, she helps people with web design and development.
Flipping TV channels. Chewing a pencil. Going through YouTube Videos aimlessly. Checking email for the infinite times. These are some of the common remedies to get rid of writer’s block, which actually are not at all fruitful. Here are some sure tricks that actually worked for famous as well as not-so-famous writers:
1. Lie Naked with Your Pen and Paper
Lying naked having only pen and paper by your side, you’ve nothing else to do but write. The escape is impossible. Do it for a few hours and you’ll come up with something magnificent in your mind and in your paper. A trial and tested method by very famous Victor Hugo.
2. Act Your Work Out Loud
When you’ll see no possibility of pouring out anything creative out of your mind. The best way to reconcile that creativity is to recall all your past work. Walk around corridors or in your room and speak out all your work out loud, like you are in it. Be an actor. The author of The Beans of Egypt, named Carolyn Chute, actually did that to bring back her creative mindset.
3. Smell the Rotten Stuff like It’s Money
People smell drugs to make themselves feel lively, but that’s just sheer destruction of their body and soul. The point is taken as an inspiration from Friedrich Schiller, who would smell rotten apples to get back in the mood of writing. He used to keep these gold in the drawer of his writing desk.
4. Bring Your Favorite Season into Action
No denial, we have our own favorite seasons, when we are more optimistic and enthusiastic about doing work. My favorite is winter, it keeps me energized, luckily I live in a cold place, so I always feel at my best. Similarly, a famous playwright named Maxwell Anderson used to produce his best works during the rainy season. Since rain can’t happen throughout 12 months, he decided to install a sprinkler system on the roof of his studio to maintain his inspirational mood.
5. Put Your Favorite Asset in Front of You
I remember my friend who still keeps his favorite paintings in front of him in his room and studio. These paintings bring calmness to his mind and make him think freely. Every time he brings in multiple notebooks to start different stories altogether and work on them simultaneously till it all gets completed. If he gets stuck by writer’s block, his favorite paintings inspire him to stay on track.
6. Confine Yourself to Strict Writing Limits
Writer’s block may get you to end up with doing nothing for days or weeks. That’s terrible and depressing. Instead of luring over your thoughts and doing nothing. It is rather better to put yourself in strict limits. Make it mandatory for an hour or more to sit in your desk and write something, no matter what comes in your mind. Start with one hour, you’ll notice the change.
7. Leave Work in Between for a Fresh Start Next Day
Leave your sentences incomplete to give yourself a no-brainer start the next day. It gives you food for thought. You’ll force yourself to end the work. Ernest Hemingway would always leave his writing in the mid so when he arrived the next day, he could finish the sentence. This driving force was enough for him to write smoothly.
8. Write the Worst Possible Version You Can
When you can’t go with the best, do the worst - a perfect mantra to get rid of writer’s block. The main motive is to write. Your every inspiration source urges to write. Let it be the worst possible version you can think of. Too much bad that you’ll be embarrassed to get it published. Not only it keeps your thoughts in continuous productive motion, but it also helps you turn your worst efforts into the best version of itself.
9. Involve a Complete Stranger or a Friend in Your Work
Someone who knows nothing about what you are writing will have a different perception, about the same concept, then yours. Take the help of social media or your online friend. Social media is filled with hatred most of the times, yet some generous users will put efforts to give you their viewpoints. Having two or more perceptions about the same thing will leverage your creative potential to build something afresh.
Things that Work for me
Ok. These were some tips adopted by famous and potential writers. I would also like to introduce some of my self-made tricks that always work. I have faced writer’s block several times in my couple of years of experience as a freelance writer and believe me, it gives me an adrenalin rush to push myself into writing again. So, let’s read them:
1. Dance to the Beats
I am a dancer by soul and heart. It’s natural for me to put on my shoes and groove a little. It’s actually a physical activity and deeply relaxes all my nerves. If you love being in action, go for exercise, gymming, yoga or dance. It works every time.
2. Get a Drink
I wonder how many people won’t do it. It’s the easiest way for anyone to get through the blocked mind, for me too. But not every drink variation works for everyone. What’s your poison?
3. Pour Down all your Thoughts
Our mind is always running with thoughts, sometimes childish, crazy or disastrous. Write down everything you are thinking at the moment. It’d eventually make you write a masterpiece.
4. Read Books you’d Never Read
Reading books is a pretty obvious solution for every situation you face. If I am writing an article about technology, reading the same thing doesn’t work for me. I would go with something like romantic or fantasy novels. It sweeps me away from reality and makes me forget my disturbed situation, giving a new direction to my thoughts.
5. Do Whatever Makes You Feel Relaxed
Everyone has a different definition of ‘relaxing’. For me, I prefer to watch cute dog and puppies videos online. They are adorable and rejuvenating. They give me peace of mind and that’s the reason I have 6 at my home. Always present near me to inspire me to do what I love with no blockage. Don’t go with bad ones, I know people who smoke, or go deeper into sexual activities. It doesn’t resolve the problem, it just makes it worse.
6. Read Related Questions on Quora
Quora seems to have answers for anything and everything. Whenever I go through a problem, I searched the same on Quora and to my shock, many others are already talking about the topic. It kinds of giving me a relaxed feeling because it’s just not me, there are many others who are fighting with the same problem and there has to be a solution for the same. It really works.
7. Switch on to Social Media
Well, this is an obvious point, many people do it, in fact, everyone does it. I wrote this point not because I like it, but due to the reason my friends always say, “Hey Prachi! Just chill, open your Insta/Twitter/FB and get the sh** out of your mind.” Undoubtedly, with so many trollers and actual fun accounts giving so much hilarious content, it’s definitely worth a try. But according to me, it’s superbly addictive. If you do it once, you want it again and again. Instead of curing your writer’s block, it completely deviates you from the real reason for which you were actually using it.
8. Steal Someone else’s work
I literally mean it, just do it. But just don’t go on publishing it. You must do it to get an idea of what others are doing. It gives you an open door to someone else’s mind. Certainly, when your mind can’t think of anything fruitful, think with others’ minds.
9. Improve Your Daily Schedule
Writer’s block is a result of a disturbed mind when you can’t think of one pathway to follow. You have so many points and stories going through your mind that you just can’t make it which one to go with first. As a result, your mind is tangled and there’s nothing productive left.
I wonder how many people go through such situations who follow a strict schedule and maintain discipline in their life. Fairly, none of them faces such a situation at any moment in their lifetime. It took time for me to understand this. It’s not caffeine, alcohol, or other materialistic addiction that takes to you to the right direction. Watch out your sleeping habits. Wake up early and maintain discipline, rest everything will settle by itself.
Famous Writers' Views on Writer's Block
1. J.K. Rowling
I suffered writer’s block too badly once that it paralyzed me. It was during the writing of the Chamber of Secrets. I was extremely scared if my second book wouldn’t meet the expectations, but I, certainly, got through it.
— J.K. Rowling
2. Haruki Murakami
When I write, I wake up at 4 in the morning and work continuously for 5 to 6 hours. Then, I run for 10 km or swim for 1.5 km, read a little and listen to music and finally, sleep at 9 p.m.
I maintain this routine strictly. The repetition becomes an important part of mesmerism. It helps me reach a deeper state of mind.
To hold this habit for long, lots of mental & physical strength is needed, and the same goes for writing.
— Haruki Murakami
3. Zadie Smith
To get rid of writer's block and work better on your work, read as much as you can. To be a good writer, you need to be an excellent reader, first.
— Zadie Smith
4. Stephen King
It is a very bad idea to stop a piece of work in mid just because it’s hard for you to proceed emotionally or imaginatively. No matter what, you must go on, even when you don’t feel it. Be tough on yourself and do it.
— Stephen King
5. Maya Angelou
What I try to do is write. And it might be just the most boring and awful stuff. But I try. When I’m writing, I write. And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says, ‘Okay. Okay. I’ll come.’
— Maya Angelou
© 2019 Prachi Sharma
Prachi Sharma (author) from India on July 06, 2019:
Hi Rachael, that's very descriptive and visualizing. Even my room is fall-theme decorated with maple leaves. It's a beautiful idea. Very positive.
Naomi Starlight from Illinois on July 06, 2019:
My favorite season is fall and my favorite holiday is Halloween. I also like pumpkins and the cool crisp air of fall, and watching leaves change colors. I wonder how to incorporate fall into my writing environment? Maybe get fall themed decorations or art in my computer room?
Prachi Sharma (author) from India on June 24, 2019:
Yes, Sherry. Working on something else is a good option. It maintains the creative flow. Thank you ))
Sherry Hewins from Sierra Foothills, CA on June 24, 2019:
I was going to say go for a walk also. But more than that I say, leave it behind for awhile. Go to lunch with a friend, watch a movie, read a book. Don't just take an hour off. Put it completely out of your mine. Maybe even work on something else, if you really just can't stop working.
Prachi Sharma (author) from India on June 24, 2019:
Hi Cristina, that image search is something different, I never did that before. Thank you for the suggestion. I'll try it when I need some new ideas. ))
Cristina Cakes from Virginia on June 24, 2019:
There are definitely some interesting ideas here that I have not heard of! For me, if I am stuck in the middle of something, a walk usually helps. If I am stuck searching for a new topic, sometimes I go to an online random word generator. Than I take the word and type it into google and do a search for images. Usually I am inspired by one of the images I find. The last time I did this, I was inspired enough to write a whole series of short stories!
I appreciate your advice and will have to keep some of your ideas in mind next time I am stuck!