Everyone who’s ever written for any length of time has encountered writer’s block. It’s the inevitable consequence of placing words on a page (or screen).
For those trying to develop consistent content for their blog or website, this can be frustrating and even costly. So what do you do when inspiration doesn’t seem to be striking?
From my experience, there are four types of ways to overcome writer’s block: perspiration, inspiration, illustration, and meditation. Here they are with four examples of each type.
Sometimes you need to do the opposite of writing. You need to engage a different part of your brain to let the writing part take a break and recharge. Here’s how that can happen for you.
Change scenery — Maybe you just need to move from one place to another. Try sitting in a different spot in your home or office. If it’s not working there, go to a coffee shop to see if that ambiance helps.
Take a walk — Get out and get moving. Perhaps the fresh air will help. The nature scenes or cityscape could spark an idea.
Exercise — Jump on a treadmill or exercise bike. Lift some weights or do some pushups. Do anything that gets your blood pumping. Your brain will appreciate it.
Do manual labor — During seminary, I loaded boxes into transfer trucks for a shipping company. Those breaks from mental tasks often allowed my mind to reset and gave me ideas while I worked on something completely different.
Perhaps, being engaged with the creative works of others can help you move past the difficulties in your creative endeavors.
Look at interesting photos — A photo from NASA’s image library can evoke a sense of wonder and bring an idea to the surface. Nature pictures can bring to mind God’s creativity and stoke your own.
Listen to music — The ways someone writes lyrics can spark an interesting thought. Music can help direct your mind to the creative process.
Read good writing — The best way to write better is the to write more. The second best way to write better is to read good writing. Be inspired by the work and words of others.
Explore other genres — If you’re trying to write non-fiction, read some good fiction. Take a break from prose to ponder a poem. Use different writing and reading muscles to help you think differently.
Often times we come up with illustrations to match our points, but perhaps occasionally an illustration can help spark a subject on which you can write.
Remember your week — What happened in your life over the past few days? Did anything interesting occur at work, with your spouse or kids? Capture those moments as an entryway into writing.
Connect with memories — Nostalgia is big business for a reason. Most people love to reminisce. What’s something from earlier in your life that may resonate with others?
Think about TV shows or movies you saw — Maybe a movie or TV show you watched can serve as a cultural touchpoint for a conversation about a significant issue. What did you watch that could serve as a starting point for a needed discussion?
Discover new research — Look at the website of places like LifeWay Research, Pew Research, Gallup, and others. See what stats or information they’ve released that could use some insight or explanation.
Finally, Christians see writing and all creative acts as a way to reflect the image of God. I am at my most creative when I’m closest to my Creator. Use spiritual avenues to get around writer’s block.
Read Scripture — What better words can you immerse yourself in that God’s words. Take a break from writing to read a Psalm or one of Paul’s letters. Read through Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.
Meditate on a verse — More than just read the Bible, pull out a verse and spend time with it. Dig into the words and their arrangement. Study it. See how to apply it to your life and your writing.
Pray for others — Perhaps, you need a break from thinking about yourself and your writing. Stop and pray for others. Use the writer’s block as a catalyst to speak with God on behalf of someone else.
Pray for your writing — Talk to God about your writer’s block. Ask him to help you produce something that will help others and bring glory to him.
Hopefully, these tips and ideas will help you climb over writer’s block and eventually see it as a stepping stone to more and better writing.
Aaron Earls is online editor of Facts & Trends. He is also a freelance writer whose work has appeared at numerous sites, including The Washington Post, World Magazine, and Think Christian.