Hi everyone, Today I’m going to share my tips for overcoming writer’s block. This is going to be a bit of a different post as I am not going to be sharing any poetry today. One reason for this is that I’ve been working on some personal p0ems lately that are either for special people in my life or are simply not ones I want to share at this stage.
However writer’s block is something that has plagued me in a lot in recent years and it still visits me every now and again but I find that now I’m writing in a form where I can produce more work I am overcoming it more quickly and more effectively. My latest bout has been this week, but all is good now.
So I thought I’d share with you some techniques which work well for me and may work for you too. My genre/form is poetry but these techniques could easily apply if you write stories or articles.
Writers block can be frustrating and depressing and can make you question your ability as a writer. In my experience it needs to be treated carefully and sensitively before it hits too much and decreases productivity to a damaging level.
My tips are as follows:
1. Change of Scenery/Fresh Air
I have mentioned this before and it rarely fails me. If I am finding the empty or unprogressing page too daunting it’s time to come away from the screen and change y0ur location. You could chose to get on with some housework while mulling ideas over in your head. Or you could chose to go to a cafe or another public place and see if the change of surroundings provide a different stimulus. Often your ideas just need a fresh place to grow and develop. Personally, I find a walk in the fresh air always helps relax the mind and lets my ideas flow. Plus not having the screen staring at you and the pressure of getting things written down takes the stress away. Then once my lines fall into place I can record them on my phone. And I stress that I always do this as soon as I can before I forget what I have composed. So if you are blocked try a walk in the fresh air and change your surroundings. It can do wonders.
2. A Change of Style
If you are finding your piece isn’t working, you might want to try and change things around a bit so you still have the same idea but you are using a different style or method. In the past I have been writing in rhyme and have found that it is not working so have come out of rhyme and tried it that way. I have also done the complete opposite and changed a non rhyming poem to a rhyming poem. Sometimes if something isn’t working it needs a major change. Another example is when I revisited a poem and decided that my concentration should be on writing poems rather than stories. But your change needn’t be that drastic. The main message here is that a change can sometimes keep things fresh and improve someting that doesn’t work too well.
2. Rewrite/Start Again
If you are struggling with a certain part of a piece you may find it helpful to start again. Don’t delete anything you have written. This is important. Simply start the poem again from the first line. Then either write/type the same lines out again or compose different lines. If you write stories or articles, this could still work. Just start from a point at the beginning of the part with which you are struggling or start at a point where you are confident with your piece and work from there. This could give you a fresh perspective on your work as if you were writing it all over again and it could highlight some changes you have made. I used this techique only today. I was struggling with a poem. I mean really struggling and so I strarted typing it out again and it made me realise that I did not actually need the first verse. I liked the second verse so I used that as my first and worked from there. From there it was easier to rewrite/edit and iron out what I was unhappy with. Definitely worth a try if a poem or part of a story or article isn’t working for you.
3. Return to Previous Work
If you are struggling to come up with a new idea, simply work on an old one. There have been times when a new poem hasn’t really come to me and so I’ve looked through all my poems and tried to find one that I could rework or edit. You could even use the same idea to write a different poem (or other piece) Not only can it help you to improve previous pieces, it can also remind you that yes actually you can write, and you can write well. I did this with my poem about poetry and you can find this in one of my earlier blog posts. Beware though, if you start thinking a poem wasn’t as good as you thought it was, do not delete it or get frustrated. Simply try to rework it or make a note to return to it another day. Maybe on another day you will feel differently about it.
4. Keep on Reading Other People’s Work
If you are stuck, take a bit of time to read around your genre or idea. Read similar pieces to the one you are working on. For example, if it is a particular poem you are struggling with, read other poems on the same subject. eg if it is a love poem, read other love poems. If you wanted to , you could note down some key words for ideas to put in your own poem. You can collect rhyming words and use them in your poem. Or simply read the poems and absorb them, drawing inspiration from them. Reading other people’s work is a must for writers and it’s something even I need to remember to do on a regular basis (because I forget to find time).
5. Sometimes it’s ok not to write if you don’t feel like it.
If you simply feel too tired or not in the mood to write you are allowed to take some time out. As long as you promise yourself that you will return to writing at a later stage. I’ve been quite tired lately and there have been times when I’ve just wanted to curl up and watch telly. This is fine. There is little point in forcing it if your body or mind is telling you that you are really not up to concentrating today. Do keep up the writing on a regular basis but don’t worry if sometimes you just need a night/day off.
I hope these tips are helpful. I know what works for some may not work for others but I hope there is something to work with in there.
Goodnight and happy writing
Back with a new poem soon