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Writer's Block: How to Prevent and Overcome It
Every writer experiences it. Every writer dreads it. Every writer knows it and mentally cringes at the very thought it.
Yes, it's the mental hindrance to a person's writing, a personal hell and metaphorical disease that chronically returns to ail all writers. In everyday language, a person would call it being stumped. For a writer, it's called writer's block.
To extend the metaphor, there is no actual cure to this disease. But there are treatments, ways to build immunity and figuratively vaccinate ourselves. The following two tips and bullets will explain how to attain this immunity.
Seek a source of inspiration.
Sometimes you have no idea what to write, or can't find the right words, or how to continue from where you have left off. Well, have you tried inspiring yourself? After all, Newton needed an apple to drop on his head to get the idea of gravity. There are a myriad of ways in which you can do this, and each way differs with the writer. Here are a few:
Listen to music - Turn on the radio, listen to your favorite songs. Music is an art, and art has been historically known to inspire us. Relax and listen, and it'll be sure to get your creative juices flowing.
Read a book, article, or magazine - This is personally what has helped me the most. What greater inspiration can be obtained than from other writers? Of course, this doesn't mean plagiarism. Sometimes we need the right words to speak to us, need to read a story or an idea that'll spark a unique story or idea within us. Additionally, it's a great way to relax from the stress of writing.
Watch TV or a movie - Like music and books, movies and television provide stories and ideas and another method of relaxation.
2. Don't let yourself get in your own way.
The predominant and almost universal reason why writers have writer's block is because they are hindering themselves, acting as their own obstacle. This can range from frustration and the refusal to put down your writing until you're satisfied or finished with it to exhausting yourself by writing in the late hours. Let's put it this way: persistently shaking a tree in winter is not going to magically make fruits fall. Similarly, when your creative juices are dried out, they're dried out. You simply can't muster them on your own, or you will be guaranteed to bust yourself out doing this. Hence why you should seek a source of inspiration to regenerate this juice. In addition, you should come to the realization that you need to relax and stop trying to wrack your brain for the errors in your work or finding the right wording and phrasing. Here are some tips to avoid...well...yourself.
Put your work aside for later - When done, this turns out to be very effective. When you're frustrated and suffering writer's block, chances are that you're narrowly viewing your work at the moment. When you take a break and look at it later on, you'll have a fresh, new perspective. You may just realize what's wrong with it and what you actually want to write. If you're working late at night, sleep on it and read over your work in the morning.
Get something to eat - I know I've been guilty of writing on an empty stomach. It's scientifically known that it's not good to let your brain function on little to zero energy. Eat a little something; it nourishes you as well as your brain. Even if you aren't hungry, eating makes good thinking time.
Go out and have fun! - Don't be confined to your computer, killing yourself over what to write. Go out with your friends, go to the movies, shop, party, or just get some nice fresh air. By the time you get back, I guaranteed you'll feel refreshed and perhaps even ready to write.
Do something you love - Other than writing, of course. Do you have a passion or hobby? Whether it's making crafts, drawing, cooking, singing, reading, or watching TV, enjoy yourself and let that frustration ebb away.
Exercise and get active - Exercising is known to be a great way to deal with stress. When you're stressing yourself over your writing, take a walk, go to the gym, take a swim at the pool—anything to get yourself active.
Of course, overcoming writer's block isn't just confined to these tips and points. Do whatever helps you and gets you relaxing and your creativity flowing. The point to remember: writer's block and stress go hand in hand, and are thus very similarly treatable.