Have you ever sat down to write and NOTHING comes to mind? It seems like you had so many ideas before you started and they were washed away as soon as you decided to put them on paper or on your computer. Some people call that writer’s block. There is something that is keeping you from getting those words out of your head and onto a tablet or computer. I have found that it is the desire to get those words expressed perfectly that stifle us. It is almost as if an eraser or backspace button doesn’t exist; if the words cannot be written or typed perfectly, they should not be written or typed at all. The blockage that we feel is rooted in fear. Fear of acceptance, fear of being misunderstood, and fear of being thought of as ignorant or uninformed. I am sure that you can think of others that may apply to you.
Here are some tips that I’ve shared with clients, students, family, and friends:
1. Just do it! Write whatever comes to mind, whether it is grammatically correct, a complete sentence or not. Get the thought out of your head and make sense of it later. It may just be a phrase that can open up more ideas for you in the future. You may not remember it if you do not write it down, so just do it. If you cannot find a pen, record it on your cell phone or other hand-held device.
2. Ask yourself, “what do I want to say” aloud and record whatever you say. This may sound like a simple question but I’ve found that asking myself this question really helps me to remember what I want to say. The key is to immediately begin writing down your response. Again, it doesn’t have to be perfect; you’ll have time to edit until it meets your approval. I have found that sometimes all I need is that prompting and I begin to talk about what I want to say and the words flow.
3. Commit to write regularly. Writing is similar to exercising. Athletes exercise because it improves their performance in their sport. I will not fool you by saying that the more you write, the easier it will get, however, writing regularly (I prefer daily) conditions you to put something on paper. Try committing to writing daily for 5 minutes non-stop and work your way up to 15 minutes. After the allotted time is up you can continue if you like or you can stop. You can edit your work or leave it just as it is. The purpose is just to practice getting the words out of your head and onto paper or screen.
What are some ways to you combat writer’s block?