This article was originally written for Laurie’s ‘Quips and Tips’ blog, but since someone already covered the topic, she had to pass.
The hardest part of being a writer is starting an article. Here you are, sitting in front of a blank computer screen. You may have a three-word title for your article typed at the top of your page, or you may not. Nevertheless, you have a great idea for an article, but where do you begin? This is where ideas flood your brain. All these ideas are great, but for some reason, you cannot transfer them from your brain to the computer. You want your article to be superb, one that editors and readers will not resist. So, you write and re-write your opening sentence over and over again, trying to make your sentence catchy and grammatically perfect. When you fail to come up with a blockbuster sentence, you start to get frustrated.
Before the tips, a quip:
“People have writer’s block not because they can’t write, but because they despair of writing eloquently.” ~ Anna Quindlen
We all worry that our work will not be good enough, that the right words won’t jump out of our heads and onto the computer screen. If we stopped worrying about our writing, writer’s block wouldn’t exist. We need to realize that worrying accomplishes nothing and instead focus our energy on our writing.
Here are five steps you can take to overcome writers block.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
Eat regularly and eat foods that are rich in protein, carbohydrates and fiber. You should also supplement your diet with vitamin supplements. You should have at least three meals a day. If you are unable to do this, have your main meal in the middle of the day and supplement it with snacks throughout the rest of the day. Remember, the brain needs food for thought and for energy. A healthy diet will help the brain work faster and for a longer period of time. You can alleviate writers block just by maintaining a healthy diet.
Be Physically Active
When you start to get frustrated leave your computer for an hour, go for a walk, a jog or a bike ride. Do any activity that will momentarily take your mind off your work. Physical activity will increase the blood flow in your body, which in turn, stimulates energy. When you are energetic, you will be able to think much more clearly and creatively.
Do Background Reading on Your Article Topic
Do some background reading on the topic you are going to write about. Give yourself at least a half-an hour reading time. If you are not too familiar with the subject, you will need to know about it before you can write about it. Ideas flow much smoother when you are knowledgeable about the subject matter.
Write an Outline
Sometimes the blaring computer screen generates writers block. If this happens, grab a blank piece of paper or two and create an outline. List the main points you plan to write about in order of how the body of the article will flow. It might even be helpful to write your introduction. Sometimes ideas flow much smoother when you are not staring at a bright computer screen.
Write first, Edit Later
Thinking too much about what to write and worrying too much about writing a fantastic article is the number one cause of writer’s block. Worrying about the outcome of your article causes stress. When your brain undergoes stress, its thinking process shuts down. Do not do this to yourself. Stress will not help you to write an impressive article. Besides, it is completely unnecessary. Write first, edit later. Besides, you will have to go over it and make corrections more than twice before your article is good enough to submit to editors. Your brain is most relaxed when you are not thinking too much. Ideas will flow and the next thing you know, you will have written that breakthrough article.
If you follow these five simple steps, you will be able to overcome writers block and the pain it causes.