5 Tips to Beat Writer's Block

Today, I want to talk about a very important topic for any author because I know I’ve been struggling with it lately, and I want to share what I know in case you are, too. If you’ve spent any amount of time practicing a creative skill, you’re most likely acquainted with what I like to call The Funk. You probably know it better by its writing-specific name, writer's block. It can be caused by a variety of things, but I think there is one root cause: trying to pour out too much of yourself without recharging. Some of the many specific ways this can occur are: feeling like you have to create according to a schedule, trying to create when you feel like you have no ideas, and trying to create without taking in inspiration. I say create here because that's what writing is and these tips are what I've used to beat the block across various types of art, not just my writing.

Here are five simple ways to try and work through whatever funk you may be in.

1. Step Away

Sometimes we can get so focused on what we feel we need to do that we can’t realize how or why it’s not working. Sometimes, our brains simply get so saturated in a specific task that they cannot continue working on it. That is often when the funk creeps in. When you find yourself in one of these situations, I find it best to step back and take a break from whatever I’m struggling with. Sometimes, that’s as simple as taking a short walk around my neighborhood, while sometimes, I need to wait until the next day or even longer. When I come back to my project, I come to it refreshed, with a new perspective, and ready to tackle a challenge.

But sometimes, it’s not enough to simply take a break; sometimes, you have to actively work at something else in order to refresh your creativity. When that’s needed, the following ideas may be just what you need.

2. Work on Something Else Creative

Often, when I'm struggling to write, I'll use the time I take a step back from it to create in some other way. My favorite things to do are crochet, paint, and embroider. Working on another creative exercise is helpful when blocked or in a funk because it makes sure that you are still flexing your creativity muscles, just in a different way. By working the same part of your brain as the art form that is giving you trouble, you can help things go more smoothly when you go back to it since you don't let yourself get out of practice even while you take a break. Here are a few other ideas for creative activities you can use to rest from your normal routine: take a walk and photograph interesting plants or buildings around your neighborhood, play music, or sew. Though I’m sure you can come up with many more ways to keep your creative muscles in shape.

3. Get Inspired

This particular step is helpful if you feel like you have no good ideas for what to create. You can only pour into your art what you have inside you. If I lack inspiration, my first step is usually to turn to music because I know that I connect with it easily and it often inspires me. But seeking inspiration can take many forms such as watching a movie from a director whose cinematography you particularly enjoy, visiting a museum, or reading a book from your favorite author. Once you revive yourself, you can once again pour yourself into your art.

4. Learn a New Skill

This tip combines working in a different creative field and getting inspired. If you find yourself unsure where to seek inspiration or lacking another creative skill, then learn something new. Years ago, when I was more focused on visual art, I got really stuck with my hand lettering. I was no longer seeing the big progress of when I started learning and I had lost a bit of the fire I once had for it. As I scrolled Instagram, I found myself being captured more and more by the beautiful illustrations and watercolor creations than the lettering that filled my feed. But I had very little experience with either illustrations or watercolor, so I knew I would have to learn. So, I signed up for the classes I had seen these bloggers offer, and I started learning everything I could from them. Not only did I learn how to paint some flowers and draw some buildings but I actually rediscovered my love of lettering in the process. The skills I learned showed me how to enhance the lettering that started that artistic journey. If you’re looking for a good place to learn a new artistic skill, I cannot recommend Skillshare enough. For a low monthly cost (first month free for new users) you get access to thousands of classes on any form of art you can imagine. They also have classes on marketing, running your business, and productivity tools. All of the courses are self-paced and available 24/7. If you want to learn a new skill, Skillshare is the way to go!

5. Change Your Scenery

This is a favorite of mine, especially when I’m stuck with my writing, and I think it can be especially beneficial for people who work from home. Working in the same space for long periods of time can make it hard for your brain to continue focusing on one thing. If you work from home, it’s particularly easy to find distractions or excuses to interrupt your workflow. When I’m feeling this way, I pack up my computer and head to a coffee shop or the library. The idea that I am going somewhere to work on a specific project away from my normal distractions helps me to kick distraction to the curb and get it done.