The many types of writer’s block (and how to get over them)

Writer’s block can really make you feel like a monkey at a typewriter. But there are ways for students and professionals alike to combat it. (Image Source:  New York Zoological Society)

I hate writer’s block. It has been the pebble in my shoe since the day I could put words on a page.

Experience has helped me a little though – at least enough to know a few ways to help kick that proverbial pebble known as writer’s block out of your shoe. Below are a couple of ways I have found many writers experience writer’s block and some good tactics to combat these situations.

If you have writer’s block and don’t have a pressing deadline

  • Walk away from it – It sounds so trite, but sometimes when you have writers block, the best thing to do is get up and do something else for a minute. Sometimes the words will jump out at you when you are doing something other than looking at the page.

If you have writer’s block and you do have a pressing deadline

  • Outline your paper – If you are pressed for time and you don’t know how to write something the way you want to, try outlining your general points. Just put down a few ideas you want to get across and allow them to guide your thinking. If you are working with a lot of quotes, this tactic can be particularly helpful, as it allows you to compartmentalize each quote under a general premise or idea. Not only that, but figuring out the general point and placing the quotes is half the battle – all you have to do after outlining is connect the quotes to the general point with your own words.

If you have long-term writer’s block and you can’t seem to kick it

  • Find a new experience – If you have more long-term writer’s block, walking away from what you are writing probably will not help. However, finding a new experience to write about might. Go someplace you wanted to go to before, find a new hobby or cross something off your bucket list. Sometimes you really have to change a few things to really get out of a slump and find new material. As some say, monotony kills creativity.

If you start writing something and don’t know how to explain/describe what you are writing

  • Storyboard It – Although this is more beneficial in creative writing, I find storyboarding helpful in some narrative, professional pieces as well. If you have time, take some index cards and write on one how you want your piece to begin and write on the other how you want it to end. Next, you fill in pieces of information on other cards and you try and brainstorm ways to connect the beginning and the end. Whether that is only three pieces of information in between or twenty pieces is up to you, but if you can connect the pieces properly, you end up with a nice, organized narrative.

In the end, the creative process is a fickle one. Ideas go as quickly as they come and it can be hard to keep the fount of creativity going. But with the right tactics and enough determination, it is possible to keep the ideas for your writing flowing strong.

This blog post was written by PRowl Director of Finance Kelly Armstrong. 

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