Getting started. Sometimes it’s the hardest part of writing. Staring at that blank screen can be maddening. So what can you do to break through your impasse and get busy? Here are six quick and easy tricks I use to bust a writer’s block.
- Read magazine headlines. They’re fun, they’re pithy and, depending on the magazine, even a little racy. Here’s an exercise to light a fire under your creative spark. Pick up any consumer magazine, grab a headline and re-write for whatever you’re working on.
- Use writing prompts. I took a course called Writing Family Stories last year. When you write for a living, creative writing tends to take a back seat so I thought this would be a fun way to tap into something a little more personal. It’s amazing how a simple writing prompt can help you generate a sentence, a paragraph, a page of words before you even know it. Sometimes all you need is a nudge in the right direction.
- Write the end, middle or title/headline first. There’s no rule in writing that you have to start writing at the beginning. One of my previous colleagues always wrote the middle first. Another swears by writing headlines first. The point is to just get something down on paper. Start with whatever you feel strongly about or most comfortable writing.
- Chat with a friend. You can ask a friend for help, even someone who doesn’t write. Getting a second opinion from an outside and fresh source can lead to surprising results. Or, don’t even ask their opinion. Sometimes taking a break and changing your mental state is all you need to reset, refresh and get focused once you get back to your desk.
- Run. Similar to the “ask a friend” tactic above, getting away from your office can be a healthy writing strategy. Go for a walk or run. When you start to focus on something else like your surroundings, your breath, the sun on your skin, you stop focusing on not be able to write. That physical activity not only warms up your body, it warms up the mind too.
- Meditate. Learning to be quiet, still and present isn’t as easy as it may sound. But do this, and suddenly the universe — your own in particular — seems to flow a little more seamlessly. Ultimately, your words will too.
What about you? Do you have any tricks to get over a writing block? If so, post it in the comments.