It happens to everyone.
The blank page stares back at you, the glow of your computer screen a spotlight on your failure to generate ideas. The cold sweat beads on your forehead as you struggle against the writer’s greatest foe: writer’s block.
But, never fear. There are several things you can do to help alleviate writer’s block, get the ideas flowing, and conquer the beast.
Take a Walk
William Wordsworth walked miles each day, all the while thinking. Walking is not only great exercise, but it is also a great way to break from your normal seated-at-the-computer position and get the ideas going. Get your blood moving, and the ideas will get moving too.
Change Your View
If you’ve been sitting a while, surrounded by the same old walls, try changing your view. Take a notebook or your computer outside and see if the change doesn’t help spark your ideas. Go to the library or a coffee shop and watch people go about their day. Inspiration comes from the smallest things, so changing the location or view of where you normally write may help tear down the block standing in your way.
There are two ways to talk out ideas. The first is to talk to people who actually listen and respond. Well, they don’t always have to listen and respond. Many times just working out the ideas verbally helps us get our thoughts organized, even if the person we’re talking to isn’t really listening. Another option is to turn on a voice recorder and record yourself talking through your ideas. You could relax, close your eyes, and just let the ideas come without fear of losing them or getting them down just right.
Stephen King suggested in his book On Writing that those who want to write must read…a lot. So, if you’re at a stand-still for ideas, try reading. If you’re worried that you’ll accidentally plagiarize the voice or story of what you’re reading, read something from a different genre than what you want to write.
Switch It Up
Sometimes the medium you use for writing could be causing the trouble. If you typically draft electronically, try writing longhand. If you typically start with a yellow legal pad, try using the computer.
Write…even if it’s not “right”
Don’t worry about correctness or writing the best prose you’ve ever composed; just write. You can always “fix” it later. What is most important when dealing with writer’s block is getting over the block and generating ideas.
I am certainly not artistically inclined, but some writers are very gifted artists as well. Even so, I often draw out what I am visualizing in my head that I can’t put into words. Having something that is a physical record of the idea helps me relax enough to start writing again.
Visit a Writing Prompt Website
Finally, if all else fails (or you want to skip any – or all – of the above suggestions), you can also visit a writing prompt blog or website. There are quite a few out there if you do a quick Google search. One of my favorites is Writer’s Spark.