How to Beat Writer’s Block 101
By Guest Blogger Stephen Bennet/Does writer's block exist? For more than 60% of writers it does, according to a survey at Stop Procrastinating, the productivity website and website blocker.
As with most conditions there’s a spectrum where some writers may find it difficult to write for a few hours or days and all they need is to adjust their way of thinking, while for other writers the problem may have set in for longer.
Thankfully, no matter on which end of the writer’s block spectrum they were on, the survey found that all of the writers beat their creative block. The survey also captured the strategies that the writer’s used so effectively to oil their creative juices.
We pulled together 101 proven tips and techniques what work to cure writer’s block. So, here’s a few of the best strategies the writers’ used. It’s an interesting mix of creative motivation techniques and unorthodox routines.
The survey found that the causes of writer’s block were mainly high expectations, fear of failure and pressure of unrealistic deadlines. They got around these barriers using the following:Scientific studies have shown that creative activity in the brain is highest during and immediately after sleep. Our study confirmed that writers who changed the time of day they wrote to early in the morning beat their writer's block. 55% of
- Scientific studies have shown that creative activity in the brain is highest during and immediately after sleep. Our study confirmed that writers who changed the time of day they wrote to early in the morning beat their writer's block. 55% of writers who wrote early write better and more often.
- While some writers can produce all day, the majority create better work by limiting the hours that they write to a maximum of three or four hours a day. Many writers set a deadline and a time limit so they were more focused. This worked well for 23% of writers surveyed. Setting a deadline and a time limit makes you more focused.
- Cutting the internet connection gave 47% of respondents a creative boost. They were no longer tempted to browse the internet or answer an email when the going got tough. They perservered, problem solved and finally discovered a solution to their writing conundrum which wasn’t Googling funny cat videos.
- Many writers imagined writers like most job, where getting up in the morning and going to work isn’t always what you want to do, but you have to do it anyway. Many writers in the survey realized that they needed to treat writing like any other job and be more disciplined about it. 34% who thought of writing as a daily job wrote more.
- Putting their writing to one side for a period of time helped. 32% of writers who put their work away came back with more ideas for how to improve it. About a fifth of writers complained living in the city meant they spent a lot of their time procrastinating. The city provided them with an abundance of distractions. The playwright Jez Butterworth wrote his award-winning play Jerusalem after he moved to the countryside. Before, he said, he’d spent most of his time hanging out in bars or cafes talking with friends.
- Some 18% of respondents to the survey told themselves to toughen up and get over their self-pity. One writer used a daily affirmation: “You aren’t a writer unless you write. Inspiration is 99% sweat, ditch the self-pity, no more excuses, write and be brilliant or just burn what you've written!” It did the trick.
- Stop when the going is good is a tried and tested technique that works. 64% of writers revealed their writer’s block disappeared when they stopped writing when it felt good instead of when they were struggling to write.
Not all the tips will work for everyone, but they’ll be at least one that will work for you when you’re facing a blank sheet of paper and a blank mind.
Stephen Bennett has worked as a data scientist and researcher at Stop Procrastinating, the productivity website, since November 2014. Before that he studied psychology and empirical science. He believes with so much information available on the internet in researching and providing robust and evidence-based findings that will be a real use his fellow web users around the globe.