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  • Anya Fernihough

Writing With Writer's Block

The curse of writer’s block can be damaging to careers, causing a writer to be unable to find any inspiration for a significant length of time. It can be songwriting, novel-writing, or (in my case) writing an article.

The frustration of being unable to come up with something that you think other people will genuinely enjoy reading is almost unbearable. Worse still, when you have a concept, but absolutely no ideas come to mind and you are just left with a wasted idea. No one wants to only achieve mediocrity; you want to succeed and produce the best work possible. On top of this, the knowledge that only a few months prior the words were flowing from your fingertips like water and now you can only come up with so much as a title can be extremely frustrating.

It’s not necessarily that there’s a lack of inspiration; like I said, sometimes you can just struggle to put your thoughts into words that someone else might actually find interesting. Is it a little ironic that I am writing about this topic when I am currently suffering from writer’s block myself? Yes, but maybe this can act as a bit of self-help and allow me to overcome it. So, what do to if this happens to you:

Give it time. In some cases, just taking a break from the task at hand can allow you to give your brain a rest and allow itself to reset. In this time, you are focussed elsewhere, which can also provide you with inspiration so that when you do return to the writing task, you are feeling refreshed and prepared to write well. This doesn’t mean to just refuse to write until inspiration hits however, as perfectionism can take over and leave you feeling as though you can never write again. Be patient with yourself. The important thing is to not get worked up about it and to instead do some activities to take your mind off the current stress. Some things you can do are going on walks, creating routines, eliminating distractions, reading and listening to music. Momentum is key and will soon allow you to get back on top of your writing.

Plan your ideas. Going head-on into writing can often be quite overwhelming. By setting out the points you wish to discuss, you can make a clearer end result in your head when it comes down to writing. Having objectives for each section will divide up the overwhelming nature of writing, making it much more manageable and hence achievable. On the contrary, if you feel that having a plan is too binding and playing a large part in the cause of your writer’s block, then perhaps letting yourself write freely is more preferable. Allowing yourself to ‘go with the flow’ can be a lot less intimidating and result in you being able to overcome your writer’s block. I’d recommend trying both methods to see which works better for you.

Writing. This may seem rather contradictory considering writing is what you may be seemingly unable to do at that moment in time, however avoiding the problem can in turn make it worse. Writing just a few sentences is a great starting point on the road to regaining your writer’s creativity. It doesn’t need to be particularly eloquent or interesting, but just actually putting pen to paper can make all the difference. By doing this little and often, in time you can reclaim your writing ability and overcome this curse of writer’s block.

Altogether, I feel like these steps can be very useful when trying to overcome your writer’s block. From past experiences, I know that one or a combination of the above have helped me to power through and produce a piece of work that I am proud of and excited for its publication to see the reaction of readers, friends and family. I hope these tips help you all too!


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