Writer's block strikes even the most prolific of wordsmiths. That feeling of sitting in front of your keyboard or notepad and seeing nothing but white space can be devastating, especially if you're in the mood to produce your magnum opus or you're fighting against a deadline.
So how do professional writers push through this dilemma? Through following these five tips, you can turn even the most apathetic fingers into appendages moving in tune with that brilliant, new idea.
1. Follow a Schedule
Having an allotted time when you sit down to write each day is an essential part of the process.
Beyond consistently nudging your book closer to completion, sitting down at the same time for the same purpose each day can help train your mind to know it is time for writing and nothing else.
Sure, this can be hard for students, career folks, or parents. If that's the case, find a time in the day when you are free of distraction and can sit down to write, even if it's only a page.
Eventually, you'll breeze through your time window without realizing you knocked out 5,000 words.
2. Push Through the Doubts
Overcoming self-doubt is easier said than done for those with writer's block. Still, it's critical that you write, especially if the words seem desperate to remain unwritten.
Write down anything, even if it's pure nonsense, and you'll find a rhythm start to develop. As is often said, "fake it 'til you make it." That concept also applies to writing, in those moments where the well has run dry.
3. Read Through Writer's Block
It seems obvious enough that reading will improve your ability to write, but this suggestion is more about reading when you are experiencing writer's block.
If you feel stuck, open a text and read for a while. No matter what genre, fiction or nonfiction, seeing someone else's assembly of words will stimulate you to produce your own.
4. Take a Walk
When all else fails, it may be best to stop overthinking your dilemma. Take yourself away from the desk and go for a walk around your block.
While writing in a specific location does train your brain to write whenever you sit down, you may find that your best ideas come the moment you stop trying to force them out.
5. Don't Stop When You're in the Zone
Another critical battle in the war against writer's block is learning to recognize when you are in the groove and not to break your flow. Sure, the world around you may try to intervene with your mission, but this point deals more with your control over the situation.
Are you breezing through your latest chapter or research paper? Then don't check your email, and don't open Netflix for a short break. This is especially true if you are working on something brief; try to finish before you meet a distraction.
Set a mile marker so you know a safe time to stop. If you go over, don't panic. After all, the more you write, the better. You can always go back and edit out the nonsense later on.
Different Writers, Different Block
Of course, no two writers are the same. What works for one may be useless for another.
For example, some writers need stability in where they work; others write better when they change locations on a regular basis.
That said, these general tips can apply to writers of all genres, abilities, and routines.