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SURVIVAL KIT: DEALING WITH WRITER’S BLOCK

Writing isn’t always easy. It involves planning, research, fact-checking, inspiration, among other things. Sometimes, it takes much more time than we anticipate, even if it’s just writing about simple topics or topics that we know a lot about. In some cases, we might take time to write because of writer’s block.

Writer’s block is when a writer is unable to create new work or slows down creatively, not by choice. It’s that mental block where your mind is just blank. There are no thoughts to be put onto paper, no words coming out, nothing to write. This is normal and can be caused by many things. It could come from lack of inspiration or motivation, it can be because of a distraction, a sudden change of environment or circumstances, or even stress or anxiety. There is no fixed duration for this and it can come and go at any time (even years!).

If you’re a professional writer or have that essay deadline around the corner, you won’t have the luxury of time to wait it out. So here are some suggestions on how you can deal with your writer’s block.

Take a breather

Even if writer’s block is a natural thing, it can still cause added stress and frustrations. It’s important to use this time to get some rest, sleep it off, and try again the next day. It can be counterproductive to force yourself to write something. Sometimes it’s this exact pressure that causes the block in the first place.

Taking a break gives you the opportunity to give yourself space and time to get the energy to be able to handle the situation better or even to be able to prevent it from happening at all. Find out what you’re experiencing outside of your writing. What has been stressing you out? What circumstance is different? How are you feeling at this moment?

Sometimes you just have to start

Just write anything you can think of – words, phrases, letters. It doesn’t have to make sense, this is just to ease you back into writing. You can also write how you’re feeling or what you’re thinking, especially as you process the things and questions mentioned above. If this is proving to be difficult as well, try recording yourself just trying to talk about what you know about what you’re supposed to write, or record your thoughts.

Once you’re able to write some solid sentences, try to slowly go back to the topic or document that you’re supposed to write. Start with an outline of just words about the topic, then proceed with some sentences. I’m sure before you know it, you have solid paragraphs to work with for editing.

Don’t know what to write?

If you’re just coming out of a break and you don’t know what to write about, random generators are your friends. Try different random word generators or topic generators and see what resonates with you. You can also checklists of different topics and check what you could be interested in!

If it still doesn’t help, try checking what you used to be interested in. Do you have favorite books? Does the author have new books? How about your favorite singers? Are there updates in the industries or advocacies you follow or used to follow?

Ultimately, writer’s block occurs for a reason. It’s up to you to find out why it’s there and how you can move out of it. Believe me, I’m still trying. We got this.

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