Have you ever had an idea pop into your mind, and as quickly as it came it vanishes? Or has there been that one thought, but that’s all it is – just a thought? You struggle to elaborate on it further, even though you know there’s plenty to write about. We’ve all struggled with that dilemma of communicating what’s in our noggin out on paper or to another person. The most common is, of course, writer’s block. Just writing it can feel unpleasant, but it happens to many of us. And for some, it is very inconvenient when it could be their livelihood.
Imagine if J.K. Rowling suffered writer’s block often. How many years it could have taken to produce all those movies or build the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! Or if F. Scott Fitzgerald, who infamously struggled with this problem, never finished writing the classic novel The Great Gatsby. Writer’s block falls under that category of when our minds go blank. It’s like clenching your hand into a fist, with nothing inside, and hoping diamonds will appear when the hand opens again. Except there’s no carbon in your hands when you try. That’s what it feels like. We have this brilliant, beautiful idea that we want to write, or say, however we struggle to grasp it and put it out there. Whatever the reason it may be, there are ways to try and help. Sometimes writer’s block can go away quickly, while for others it can take a little longer. These suggestions are some ways that I try to overcome it, and perhaps they can help you as well.
Don’t Stop Writing
A friend I knew, who also enjoyed writing, was working on books that would go on to be published online. She told me that what helps her overcome writer’s block is to keep writing. Write every day. It doesn’t have to be about the work you’re specifically working on. It could be about random things. Turn your day into a story. Write about something in particular that you saw or heard. How did you feel about that? If it feels a bit journal-y, it can be seen as that. The idea is to keep your brain churning and crafting ideas. Because sitting in mental darkness, trying to grasp at something that you can’t see, it’s very hard to accomplish. Each time we feel a failure, we stay stagnant, when it’s important to keep trucking along.
Grow The Notes
Sometimes writing about other things can throw your mind off track. Maybe you work in spurts, where the idea comes to you bit by bit. If that’s you, then write like that. Bit by bit. Whenever an idea pops into my head, I write it down as soon as I can. Even if it’s not fully finished, I write down that potential in my phone, on a notepad, or whatever random paper I find. Usually this might be common late at night, right before sleeping, or when you wake up still a little groggy. After writing that note down, don’t worry about it right after, and just continue on with your day. Throughout this time, just think about it and brainstorm where to go with that note. John Legend has created some of his famous songs just by writing a verse and then going on from there. If brainstorming needs a little jolt, then continue doing other things that take your mind (somewhat) off of it. Inspiration can come from the most random places, and so branching out and doing other things can connect to the very thing you’re trying to resolve. Just take it bit by bit.
Take A Break
So writing everyday takes a toll on your mind when you were hoping it would spark ideas. Jotting notes down gradually wasn’t helping either, as you have puzzle pieces that don’t mesh well. Sometimes it helps to simply take a break from it all. Recharge that battery of yours, and step away from that idea or project; assuming it’s not your livelihood. Even if it is, allowing yourself an allotted moment of peace away could do some good. Many of us have been there to some degree. Remember those days at university, or those currently in school, and there’s that 10+ page report that must be done soon. We put our hands on our head in frustration, hating how we can’t finish this darn thing, and would rather watch Netflix or jump on Spotify. Taking those breaks helps clear our heads, and re-focuses the mind later to complete the paper. So walk away! Go out and do those things that not only inspires you, but also relax you and brings happiness. Whether that be walking at the park, playing with puppies, eating at new restaurants, or talking with that friend abroad go out and do it.
Eventually, you’ll know when you’re ready to get back into the writing. The most important thing for all three things above is accountability. Being responsible to write everyday when there will be times you don’t want to or life gets in the way. Remembering to jot down those ideas before they vanish into oblivion, unless they magically reappear later. And knowing how much time to give yourself a break and then return, or else there’s the risk of never returning to that project/idea. What you do in your spare time to create that inspiration is up to you. Either do what works for you, or be bold and try something new that sends your mind into a frenzy of new data coming it’s way. One way or another, the pen will write again for you and the writer’s block will go away. The one thing to do, though, is keep pushing forward; even if it means taking some time away. . .