Updated: May 18
The only way to beat writer's block is by writing.
Writing is an art as well as a craft. Like any other craft, it needs to be honed with constant practice. Writing regularly is one of the sure-shot and vital ways to write well. Your definition of ‘regularly’ will vary from mine, but adherence to this regular schedule creates consistency and discipline in a writer’s life.
But writing also entails creativity. Some would argue that the rigour of regular writing is the bane of creativity, that the pressure to write as per the schedule takes the beauty out of writing, and writing becomes like any other work.
No matter which side of the debate you are on, and whether you are a writer who writes in bulk at one or one who builds on his work slow and steady, there comes a time when writer block hits you on the face.
What is Writer’s Block?
Oxford Dictionary defines Writer’s Block as “the condition of being unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing.” An author hits a roadblock in the writing process and is unable to produce new work or faces a creative slowdown.
You open your notebook, but words desert you, you open your laptop only to stare at an empty document, you feel creatively saturated- unable or unwilling to go on.
How to beat writer’s block? The solution lies in the name of the problem itself- through writing. Facing the problem head-on rather than living in denial or thinking that the problem will go on its own will give you the solution in its own time.
What to Write When You Don't Want to Write?
1. Change The Genre
Think about writing as a hobby rather than a vocation or passion, and dabble in a genre you don’t consider your forte. If you are a fiction writer, now is the time to experiment with non-fiction; if you write stories, now is the chance to try your hand at poetry. You will have fun with words without feeling the pressure to produce your best output since publishing the work will be not in your mind.
2. Elucidate About World Affairs
Pontificate on the state of the world, the country, your state, city, or locality. Describe the pinch of the price-rise that you are feeling. Elucidate what about the state of the road bothers you. Put your point of view on how you would have solved that problem in a different manner than your local politician. Write about anything or everything you want to, without the fear of censors or consensus. For this work is for your consumption and meant for your eyes only.
3. Journalise Your Thoughts and Feelings
How did the day go? What did you like about it, and what would you do differently in hindsight? How do you feel after the altercation with your spouse? What are your priorities for the day to come? You will feel your anxieties melt away as you put your feelings to paper and go on a date with yourself. Used as a self-reflection tool by the Who’s Who of the successful world and recommended by psychologists and coaches, a journal is also a helpful device to keep in touch with writing until you rediscover your mojo.
4. Describe Your Room
Or your home, office, garden, or anything in your external environment. Observe all the big and small details and put them down on paper in as plain or flowery language you want. Are your window panes clean or dirty? Do you like the colour of the bedsheet of your bed? Does the unused treadmill of your room remind you of a story? Be as vivid as you want to be. You never know what description will come useful where on which day. I wrote a description of my room on one of the days when I didn’t know what to write and later used the same in one of my stories where it (coincidentally!) sat as if it was meant to be.
5. Pen Your Affirmations
Want to change a habit or break a pattern? Jot down your intent in bullet points. Is there something you want to change? Don’t just think it; ink it. Put words to all the thoughts going on in your mind. Then put those words on paper.
Try one or all of these methods, and one fine day you will find your creative juices are flowing, and you are inspired with renewed vigour to take up your passion. For more techniques on daily writing when you don't know what to write, read my blog here.
You cannot overcome writer’s block by refusing to write; you cannot overcome it by waiting for inspiration to strike. You do not overcome writer’s block by binge-watching your favourite shows or crying in self-pity.
You overcome writer’s block by writing. And reading. The more you read, the better writer you become. Read here to learn what I have incorporated in my writings from my five favourite authors.
Smita Das Jain is the bestselling author of ‘A Slice Of Life: Every Person Has A Story.’ An SRCC and IIM Indore Alumna with 14+ years of leadership experience in Fortune 500 companies, Smita is a Personal Empowerment Life Coach and Executive Coach by profession, and a writer by passion who writes every day. Her award-winning stories have been published on The WriteFluence 2022 Anthology, Women's Web 2022 Anthology, The Auroras and Blossoms 2021 Anthology, StoryMirror, Penmancy, Women's Web and Twist and Twain. Smita has been featured in The Pioneer, The Daily Guardian, and New York-based Authority Magazine. Readers can access her creative fiction published on multiple platforms at https://www.smitaswritepen.com/