So in case you hadn’t noticed, the blog has been a little deserted over the last few weeks. It’s been a difficult time for me and I’ve been having to deal with lots of things outside of the blogosphere, and have been finding that anytime I sat down to write something, I just couldn’t think of anything, or would get a sentance in and not know what to say next. I’ve had an emotional writer’s block I suppose you could call it.
So how do people that do this for a living or on a regular basis get over writer’s block?
I’ve read a couple of different things but a few of the things that made more sense to me where:
Brainstorm. Write a list of topics/stories you want to cover. If you take a look at my behind the scenes on my website, there is a huge list of stories that I have thought of but haven’t yet got around to writing. I also make lists on my phone or in a notebook too so that I can come back to it later. However, if you find that you can’t write more than a sentance – which is the trouble I’ve been having recently – write bullet points of things you want to say. Then one by one try and elaborate on these until you have your finished piece.
Carry a dictaphone or notebook with you. The urge to write can strike at any time and it might not necessarily be at the time you’ve designated for writing something that day. If you have a dictaphone you can talk away and then later sit down and write it up. You may need to watch where you are doing this though as you may look slightly crazy wandering around town talking to yourself!
Write often.The writing skill is like a muscle. It becomes more and more powerful if you train it. Write an article every day for 90 days (the time my mum says it takes to stop or start a habit) and you will see the results. The more often you write the more confident you become and the less likely you will be to get writer’s block.
Step away from the computer. As hard as this is to do for some of us these days, a break away from it can do us the world of good. Talking even 30 minutes out to take your mind off the task can mean that you have a fresh perspective when you come back to it. I find that doing things like reading, cooking or sewing help take my mind off things and mean that I am in a better frame of mind when it comes to my writing.
Find time to just enjoy a trip or your free time rather than having everything be about the blog. I’ve often heard other bloggers talk about needing a holiday form the travel writing. It is often a case that writing a travel blog means that every trip or excursions is seen as ‘work’ and something to write about. In life, all of us need a break from things at times and so it’s good to just be able to enjoy something for what it is and not have to think of the story that you’re going to have to write after.
Exercise your body and your mind will follow. I have to say I was a bit ‘whatever’ about this one. I haven’t done a lot in the last few weeks at all exercise wise and the motivation to get out just wasn’t there. Last week I did head out on several occasions for either a walk or walk and jog and I did find that I felt a whole heap better when I came back and full of energy – despite the fact that the muscles in my legs were not best pleased at all. I am very much a water baby and I found that heading to the beach and taking a walk there or simply sitting on the sand watching the waves for a while helped the mental health a lot too.
Retype words from a story or song you admire. I’ve heard this advice many times. When you’re utterly stuck for what to write next, retype someone’s else’s words. You can choose a novel, an article, a poem, a short story, a song – whatever is most appropriate to your situation – just write it. Apparently just the simple task of retyping famous words and paying attention to how they feel and sound can reignite your muse and break the writer’s block cycle.
So going forward I am going to try and keep these things in mind when I find writing a struggle and hopefully there won’t be any more absences from the blogosphere.
Have any of you struggled with writer’s block? What things helped you overcome it?