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I’ve been in a writing rut for several days. I think it’s safe to say that this recent experience inspired this article. When the words don’t come, why not write about not writing?
A writing rut can be frustrating. For me, I wanted to write but was struggling to get the words and thoughts flowing. I scoured the internet for ideas and writing prompts, and finally, something clicked. The words began to come to me once again.
Writer’s block is a condition that impacts writers where they’re unsure how to proceed or think of what to write. It’s also known as every writer’s nightmare. Though the block is temporary, it’s extremely frustrating.
There are a few skeptics out there that believe writer’s block isn’t real. Perhaps insecurities can cause this creative interruption. Maybe there are too many distractions diverting your focus. Whether it be writer’s block or a lack of mental focus is not the issue at hand here. Instead, we’ll be taking a look at solutions to overcome this rut.
This article has a few suggestions and tips in case you find yourself in one of these creative droughts. What works for one may not work for everyone, but these suggestions may be just what you need to get those creative juices flowing again.
Tip #1: Start Writing Somewhere, Anywhere
While I enjoy writing from the beginning of a project to the end, it doesn’t always work out this way. Sometimes I’ll jump to a later section if an idea comes to mind. Too many ideas have been lost by not jotting them down when they’re at the top of mind!
Writing doesn’t always have to be done in order from beginning to end. Just start somewhere. Is there a subheading or chapter that sticks out to you? Why not begin there? Start where the inspiration is and the rest will come together.
Tip #2: Be Confident
Are you writing about a subject you’re unfamiliar with? When unfamiliar with a topic it can be difficult to determine where to begin. The lack of knowledge in the topic creates insecurities causing every word written down to be over-analyzed and eventually erased.
If you are not feeling confident about the sentences you’re writing, keep writing anyway. When you proofread later, you can make modifications.
Remember, the first draft isn’t the final draft.
Tip #3: Research
Become familiar with the topic you’re writing about. Even if you have a strong understanding of the subject, take time to read through the perspective of others. The author may make a point that you hadn’t yet thought of or aren’t in agreement with. Differing opinions and new perspectives can lead to inspiration.
Tip #4: Disconnect
We’ve all been guilty at some point about getting distracted. Our phones are constantly lit up with notifications from messages, emails, or social media. Streaming services make it easy to binge watch your favorite shows.
Some feel soothed by background noise like music or TV. If you find yourself tuning into the TV or dancing around your living room more than you’re writing, turn it off. Does Twitter or Instagram keep distracting you? Put your phone in another room to charge. Remove distractions to regain your focus.
Tip #5: Freewrite
To get the words to start flowing again, start writing about anything. Lookup a writing prompt and use that as a starting point. Any topic that comes to mind, start writing about it.
I have a few drafts that I keep starting and stopping. Once they’re eventually finished, some may never see the light of day for various reasons, too personal or I don’t feel that the quality is there. The important thing here is that I’m still writing and keeping my mind active.
I’ve seen articles that suggest forcing yourself to write. I disagree. If the words aren’t coming to you, try a different subject, or take a break and come back to the project later.
Start writing anywhere in your work in progress or try a different topic. Be confident in what you’re writing even if the topic is new or unfamiliar to you. Research even if you’re familiar with the subject to find different perspectives. Disconnect from distractions like social media that keep pulling you away from your writing project. Writer’s block will come and go. Changing or trying new behaviors can help get you writing again.