Staring with a blank, deadpan expression at the pixels of my monitor, I’ve often caught myself trying to harness an idea or topic to write about, then simply being unable.
We’ve all been there. Oftentimes when dealing with a bout of writer’s block, I find the cause to be the absence of a basic outline of the ideas I want to convey. Everyone deals with writer’s block differently, but establishing – on paper – a basic brainstorm of relevant ideas is probably one of the easiest steps one can make towards finding a rhythm. I have found out that by organizing the ideas that I like best, I have a better sense of the order in which I want to write.
As with any other instance of inspiration abandonment, writer’s block can take some time to work through naturally. A few intelligent individuals at Purdue University have shared an awesome, educational page for dealing with writer’s block.
Here are a few basic steps you can take to successfully manifest your ideas into words:
- Know what is expected of you with regard to your writing project or assignment.
- Who is your audience or reader? Gear the writing towards a certain demographic or field.
- Find your own outlook or stance on the topic you are writing about.
- Organize a written brainstorm or basic, preliminary outline.
- Write a first draft. It can always be reviewed and edited to meet your standards.
- Already know a part of what you want to write? Start in the middle or end. You don’t have to start at the beginning.
- Read another writer’s work for inspiration.
- Shut out other distractions. No television. No Facebook. No Twitter. I’ve often found that music can help me focus, but only listen to it if it doesn’t distract you.
- Keep a list of any potential ideas that come to you.
- Do not procrastinate. As easy as it is to succumb to distractions, the sooner you start the sooner you will finish.
Mark Twain once said, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small, manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” This is just another testament of how simple, straightforward organization can come into play and make writer’s block a very approachable ailment.
Above are merely some of the ideas and strategies I use for writing at Incept. Keep in mind, however, that they can be used in any writing scenario – professionally, academically or personally.
Everyone deals with writer’s block differently, so I’m curious: What are some of your tips for overcoming writer’s block?