We’ve all been there. That moment when the words stop flowing onto the page and you’re stuck in a literary rut. Whether you’re writing a thesis, novel, or epic book of poetry, often the most effective ways for overcoming writer’s block also happen to be the most unconventional. If you’ve already tried your usual methods to no avail, try these unique tricks and you may be surprised at how well they can get the creative juices pumping again.
Write about the writer’s block
At the outset, this concept may seem counterintuitive, but challenging your nemesis head on can be just what you need. By writing about the block, you aren’t avoiding the problem, you’re confronting it directly and that can release all sorts of tension and help you redefine your focus. You can refer to the writer’s block in the third person or the first , have a conversation with it, argue with it — whatever works for you!
Even famous songwriters such as Jason Mraz advocate for this unusual technique. He wrote a whole song about songwriting titled, “Mr. Curiosity.” In a November 3, 2011 article for the Manila Bulletin, “Jason Mraz on Writer’s Block and the Advocacies Close to His Heart,” Mraz addresses how this song helped him through his creative process.
‘“Usually when I get writer’s block, I write about writer’s block,”’ Mraz said in the article. ‘”Because then that’s what’s going on in your life. I wrote [the song] on my birthday and I dubbed Mr. Curiosity as that which keeps me curious, that which would make me ask more questions, that which would make me be inspired. So I’m like, ‘Mr. Curiosity, come back to me, come back to my life and give me a reason to write.’”
Laugh out loud
Writing can be stressful. It’s also a cerebral endeavor that can leave you feeling disconnected not only from your work but from the outside world. As weird as it might sound, laughing out loud will at the very least get you out of your head. Of course, I wouldn’t recommend this trick when you are alone in the middle of a public park, but if you’re home alone, give it a shot and you may find that you feel more relaxed.
Writer Jeff Goins agrees. In his post “13 Weird Ways to Work Through Creative Blocks” for his blog, goinswriter.com, he says regarding laughter that, “Really cool stuff happens to you physiologically and mentally when you do this. In particular, it relieves stress.”
Listen to movie soundtracks
Quirky? Yes, but this suggestion can be another effective way to get your mind into a more relaxed state. Choose your favorite soundtracks; the ones that conjure not only pleasant cinematic memories, but that also inspire you. Inspiration is a key motivator in ridding yourself of writer’s block, and movie soundtracks have a uncanny way of bringing that inspiration back into gear.
Get into costume
This may be too over the top for some, but for others, especially those who write fiction, dressing as a character in your book, or even a character in someone else’s book that you admire, can be a fun and out-of-the-box way to overcome writer’s block. In character you can play with dialogue and experiment with plot. The important element here is just to experiment and to loosen up. Don’t take the exercise too seriously!
Write one sentence
Sometimes the best solutions for writer’s block are the simplest. For academics trying to write dissertations this can mean jotting down just a single sentence that’s off topic to help get focused. Dr. Rachna Jain, in a post, “Dissertation Coaching Tips Blog,” for completeyourdissertation.com, suggests going to the site OneSentence.org where you can type in one sentence about a true event in your life. You can read what others have written, and in writing your own sentence you can find clarity, according to Dr. Jain.
“While it can potentially become one of those fascinating timewasters, sometimes, having to put down just one sentence can also help you get very, very clear,” Jain said.