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Tips and Tricks to Beat Writer’s Block

todayOctober 13, 2016

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By Brent Ramirez
Blog Content Contributor

No matter who you are, you’re probably going to have to write a paper or an article at some point in your life. Whether it’s your job to write, if you’re a student writing an essay, or even if you just like to write for personal fulfillment, writing is something we all do. For some people, the art of writing comes very naturally. For others, not so much. Regardless of your skill level, writer’s block is something that hits us all eventually.

I’ll come clean, I honestly had no clue what to write about for this blog post. I spent hours upon hours brainstorming and yet I was able to conjure up nothing. It took me a while but I eventually came to realize that the subject matter that I had been searching for all along was right in front of me. Sure, call it a cop out that I’m writing about writer’s block because I couldn’t think of anything else. But honestly, this is something we all experience from time to time, so why not give out my advice?

 We can consider this post a meta post, a sort of writing-ception. After all, I’m writing about not knowing what to write. It’s pretty on the nose. Anyways, here are some tips and tricks that help me when I get stumped with writer’s block!

Stop what you’re doing and do something else!

I know it sounds counterproductive, but if you find yourself staring at your pen and paper, laptop, or quill and parchment (for all my fellow wizards and Benjamin Franklin enthusiasts), then just leave your writing and walk off. Don’t let yourself be occupied by the jumbled or empty canvas in front of you. Go be productive or do some leisurely activities. If you’re looking to jumpstart your creativity, go play a musical instrument or doodle some quick sketches. Get your creative juices flowing by engaging in other sorts of mind melding activities. If you’re trying to just clean the slate completely, go for a jog or watch some tv. Just make sure one episode of “Reba” doesn’t turn into 26 episodes of “Reba,” (GOD I LOVE REBA). Get your brain to relax so you can come back refreshed and with a clear mind.

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“When I can’t think about what I write about it sucks. So I have to wait until inspiration strikes.” – Austin Cowan. Photo by Brent Ramirez

Get rid of those distractions.

It’s easy to become preoccupied nowadays with television, mobile devices and social media. Sometimes it can even get to a point where it causes our writing to suffer. If that’s the case, put it away and turn it off. You can’t expect your mind to focus on producing good content if it’s too busy taking in other content. Chances are, you don’t need to be on your phone as often as you are. So just set it to the side and put it on do-not-disturb. If your writing is important or you’re on a deadline, I’m sure whoever you’re texting will understand if you take some time for yourself to write. I know I just said you can watch television to clear your mind, but don’t try to do both at the same time (says the guy who types this sentence 10 minutes after he is mesmerized by a chef’s inability to cook onions on “Chopped”). If need be, disconnect your devices from the internet. The sooner you rid yourself of distractions, the quicker and easier it is to put your words down. If you’re in an environment that poses other types of distractions then it might help to…

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KTSW Blog Content Contributor, Austin Cowan. Photo by Brent Ramirez

Drown out your surroundings with music.

This method tends to work best with music that doesn’t contain lyrical vocals. Instrumentals can convey different feelings and thoughts that could ultimately influence your mind and even your writing. I personally like to choose the genre depending on the type of writing I’m doing. If I’m writing about something meant to lift spirits or pump people up, then hype hip hop instrumentals it is. If I’m trying to get all up in the feels, then you can best believe I’m listening to Adele instrumentals on YouTube. If listening to music with lyrics isn’t too jarring, then knock yourself out. Just be careful that you don’t type any of the song lyrics because I know I’m a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world. Life in plastic, it’s fantastic.

Find a change in scenery.

If all these distractions around you are just way too much to handle, then leave altogether. Take your writing with you and go. A change in your environment will not only rid you of those previous disturbances and interruptions, but it could also help provide you with a fresh, new mindset as well. Sometimes, moving from an indoor environment to an outdoor one can really give you that literal breath of fresh air that your brain and your writing could use. It doesn’t even have to be as drastic as going outside. I personally have trouble writing at the desk in my bedroom here and there, so I move out to the dining table and voila! I’m suddenly Mark Twain. It may not seem like a big deal to move from place to place, but trust me. Your writing will benefit from a fresh new environment.

Writer’s block can be a real pain in the ass. These are just a few things that help me out whenever I’m backed into a corner with my writing. Try some of these tricks out or find your own personal ways to beat it. You’ll soon realize that writer’s block is merely a minor setback and nothing you can’t overcome. Happy writing friends!

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