The Art of Ideas: How To Overcome Writer’s Block

This is a guest post from David Gerrard

Writer’s block is a frustrating issue to deal with, but it is something that affects us all from time to time. Even William Goldman, the author of countless acclaimed screenplays, once said that the “easiest thing to do on earth is not write.”

Whether you’re writing an article for your blog, an essay, a novel or simply a cover letter for a job application, there are always moments where you falter and need that extra bit of inspiration to help you. Thankfully, there are myriad ways to remedy such creative blockages and now I shall proffer a few of the best.

Be Less Strict With Your Ideas
Rather than completely throw out all of the ideas which you don’t consider good enough, entertain some of the “maybes” and see where they take you. Ideas like this will often evolve as you work on them, with some eventually becoming the great idea you wish you had conjured in the first place.

Admittedly, some will prove useless but that is the nature of writing and not every avenue you explore will be a success.

Keep all of your ideas in a notebook, no matter how poor, and in times of trouble refer back to them to try and get those creative juices flowing.

Do What Inspires You
Whether it’s listening to music, watching a film, taking a walk or talking to someone you admire, take some time to do whatever inspires you. Experiencing something outside of your own head will help you to direct and refine your own thought, feelings and ideas.

Turn Off Your Internet

Unplug your router and give it to a friend to hide because the amount of time you’re spending on Reddit and YouTube is limiting your ability to concentrate properly. No Internet connection means you won’t be able to check your Facebook every 5 minutes just on the off-chance that one of your old friends has decided to get in touch for a chat.

As useful a resource as the Internet is—you’re reading this article after all, are you not?—it can also make procrastination your main occupation and prevent you from spending time molding your ideas into something genuinely valuable.

Brainstorm, Brainstorm, Brainstorm
Getting a notice board or notebook and filling it with fragments of inspiration can be a good way for you to link existing ideas; even if it’s just a case of writing single words. This goes hand-in-hand with the previous ‘Be Less Strict With Your Ideas’ point.

Throw out tenuous ideas and see if you can make something stick. Writing down everything in a stream of consciousness fashion can help you organize your ideas more effectively too, rather than confusing yourself by only going over them in your head.

Eliminate Any Deeper Problems

Is there something else, perhaps emotionally, that is preventing you from writing? If it’s something you’re trying to avoid, you should try and address it directly through your writing.

Writing about it may help you to understand how to overcome or at least cope with the issue. If getting it down on paper is not the right method for you, try and eliminate the fear, anxiety or any other preventative emotion you are feeling before sitting down to write.

Take A Break

The most obvious but often the most effective solution to defeating those creative gremlins is taking a break. By taking some time away from the task at hand you can let your mind wander elsewhere, relieving the stress of trying to force ideas to form and allowing you to return to writing at a later time or date with a fresh outlook.

These are just a few ways you can tackle the dreaded writer’s block but there are many other methods out there, you just have to be inventive. Of course, you may be struggling with ideas in that arena too.

Ultimately you have to realize that it’s only a temporary state and many of the people plagued by creative blocks will eventually work through such barriers and go on to achieve exactly what they set out to accomplish. Persevere and ye shall reap the rewards.

How do you overcome your writing blocks to become productive again? 

About the Author: David Gerrard is a copywriter for Boards Direct, one of the UK’s leading online suppliers of whiteboards and other high quality presentation supplies.

Image courtesy of Pink Sherbet Photography

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