Ever sit down to write a blog post for the week, only to have nothing come to mind? Nada. Zilch. No matter how hard you try to squeeze the creative juices out from wherever they’re hiding, you just can’t seem to get anything onto that blank screen. This is for all you bloggers and writers out there – my all time A-Z of curing writer’s block.
A – Ask
Ask people questions. People love being asked about themselves – ask them what they do, ask for their opinion, ask them how they cure a bout of writers’ block. Nothing like a bit of insight to kickstart a bit of writing.
B – Brainstorm
A blank piece of paper and a pen – my favourite brainstorming tools. Write down anything that comes to mind. Make a mind map, make a list, doodle. Whatever gets those prompts going.
C – Create something.
This doesn’t have to be writing. It could be anything – bake a cake, sketch something, do some DIY. The whole point is freeing up that creative side of you and getting it going.
D – Do something different.
Get out of that rut you’ve dug yourself into. Shake things up and try something new, preferably something that challenges you and makes you feel alive.
E – Explore.
Explore sides of yourself that you don’t often give yourself permission to indulge. Those thoughts that you try desperately to suppress during the day to keep it together? Allow them to surface. Some of my best pieces of writing have come from experiences that are deeply rooted in who I am as a person, even if they weren’t the most emotionally pleasant ones I’ve had.
F – Flesh out something you already have.
Why not work with what you already have? This could be a paragraph you’ve written in the past but forgot about, or even a starter sentence. This is one of my favourites – it stops me from flitting between ideas and never really committing to something to be able to develop it to the best of my abilities.
G – Go out somewhere.
Get some fresh air. Even better, get some exercise outdoors. Keeps your blood circulating, gives you a change of scenery and you might just see something or meet someone who inspires you.
H – Have a snack.
Get that blood sugar back up and give yourself an energy boost. I highly recommend anything containing chocolate, but that’s just me.
I – Imagery.
Personally, I think good writing is all about creating imagery in the reader’s mind that surpasses the experience they would get with an actual image. Look at pictures of whatever ideas you’re toying with, and make a note of the thoughts that immediately come to mind. Don’t second guess yourself too much, just go with your first reaction.
J – Jokes.
Watch a bit of comedy. Comedians get most of their material from real life experiences or current affairs, so what better way to glean insight into the art of taking a seemingly mundane event and presenting it in such a way that appeals to crowds?
K – Keep an eye out.
Be observant. Notice things that other people don’t because they’re too busy focusing on the distractions. Marvel at the way a swan’s legs are paddling away like a machine beneath the water surface but it appears to be gliding along ever so effortlessly. Notice the fleeting look in someone’s eye before they agree to something they don’t really want to do. Be inspired by the details.
L – Learn something new.
Watch a documentary or read about something that has always interested you. Good writing comes from a life well lived, and living life to the fullest means that we should never stop learning about the world around us.
M – Make a list.
I’m a big fan of lists in general. Make a list of writing prompts you’ve found, goals you have as a writer, or even words you like the sound of. Part of it is getting things down on paper – and guess what? You’re already writing.
N – Notice.
Notice what your favourite writers are doing. Notice the way they write, the strategies they use, analyse it all down to the smallest details. Sometimes, the best way to find your style is to learn from others.
O – Offer your help.
Lend a hand to family and friends, or anyone who needs it. Sometimes, people just need someone to sit and listen whilst they let it all out. There’s something incredibly special about being there for people – it’s such a fundamentally human thing to do, and adds to that wealth of life experience you draw on as a writer.
P – Play.
It’s so easy to forget how to play as we grow older. Refresh that knowledge and go do something you enjoy. Something that allows you to be unapologetically, disgustingly happy and lets you unleash your inner child.
Q – Question everything.
Be like that annoying child who asks why things are the way they are, and how things work. Question the world around you and take that first step to learning something new that may just inspire you.
R – Read.
Some of the best writers I know spend a lot of their time with their noses in a book or any reading material they can get their hands on. The more you read, the more material you have to inspire you. It also helps you get to know market trends, ie. what kind of material is doing well in your niche and why.
S – Share.
Sharing really is caring sometimes. Get together with a fellow blogger/writer and talk about what you’ve been working on recently. Sometimes, talking about your own ideas to an objective party helps put things into perspective, particularly when you’re between two ideas and can’t quite decide what to do.
T – Take a break.
Do something else for a bit. Something completely unrelated to writing or blogging. It helps to take your mind off it for a while so that when you come back to it, you feel refreshed and re-energised when you approach the task at hand.
U – Use resources around you.
The internet is great for distractions when you least need them, but it’s also great for research and getting information you need within seconds. Make use of this and do research on topics that interest you. In the process, you might just learn something that makes you wonder “what if” – and that’s how ideas are born.
V – Visit somewhere new.
Go for a long walk somewhere scenic, or sit in a coffee shop and do some people watching. You may just see something that sparks your imagination or intrigues you. On the plus side, it gets you out and about doing something different, rather than sitting at home all frustrated.
W – Watch something.
Put a thought-provoking film on and allow yourself to get completely immersed in it. I have been inspired by many a film when it comes to creative pieces. More precisely – the characters have inspired me. It’s pretty amazing how much ground you’ve covered once you have a decent, multi-faceted character to work with.
X – Excitement is key.
Okay fine, I couldn’t think of a word beginning with ‘x’. But really – get excited about writing. This is the first step that should happen before you even open that laptop or pick up your pen. You should be doing it because it fills you with pure unadulterated joy and you just have an unexplainable, burning passion to create with words. If it doesn’t excite you, don’t bother.
Y – Yes.
Just say yes. Sometimes, the best way to get out of that dry spell is to just get on with it and write. Throw the idea of perfection out the window and just get some words onto that screen. Just do it.
Z – Zzz.
When all else fails, have a nap. Pro tip, I promise!