10 Ways to Beat Writer’s Block

Satyakam Ray

Writer’s Block: The inability to develop new ideas, produce unique content within a strict deadline, or write down the magnum opus, clinging to perfectionism, might lead the way for blank papers over a long time. The ink might dry a little bit, insinuating frustration and desperation for the Writer. However, many authors belittle the problem by terming it too much leisure time.

Thoroughly studied by Austrian psychoanalyst Edmund Bergler, Writer’s block has been extensively discussed in the creative community. Eminent professionals like Author F. Scott Fitzgerald, cartoonist Charles M. Schulz, and songwriter Adele have suffered from Writer’s block. Somehow, they have overcome the constraint. Few are unlucky, though, who quit writing altogether, just like Herman Melville, the Writer of Moby-Dick.

Reasons for Writer’s Block: Various reasons can be attributed to the concept of Writer’s Block. 

  • Stress due to a deadline
  • Lack of Inspiration
  • Distraction from writing
  • Physical discomfort
  • Mental depression
  • Lack of self-confidence
  • Unsuitable genre
  • Absence of love-life 
  • Lack of motivation
  • Absence of Instant Gratification
  • Propensity for Perfection
  • Anxiety

The neuroscience behind Writer’s Block: The person suffering from Writer’s Block often experiences stress. Stress leads the brain to control the cerebral cortex to the limbic system. The cerebral cortex is responsible for our creativity, intellectual whereas the limbic system only responds to our instincts. Neurologist Alice W. Flaherty has argued that literary creativity is a function of specific brain areas. That block may result in brain activity being disrupted in those areas.

To remove Writer’s block, the person’s thought process should shift from the left side of the cerebral hemisphere to the right cerebral hemisphere. Writing is an art; specifically, creative writers use their imagination. The ideation process and elaboration of the idea extensively can be done using the right brain profusely and effectively.

“The only cure for not being able to write is to write.”- Kaylin R. Boyd

Concepts Associated with Writer’s Block:

  • Mind Mapping – One of the solutions to Writer’s Block is mind mapping. The Writer should write down all the topics associated with the central character on a single piece of paper. If possible, do some drawings and interconnect the issues. The flow will automatically come, and so does the navigation.
  • Hypergraphia-It means a strong urge to write. In this condition, the Writer’s temporal lobe is afflicted by damage, contributing to the Writer’s block behavior.
  • Brainstorming sessions can help chuckle out various ideas and their merits and demerits in detail. Constant feedback from peers and seniors in the profession is crucial for character development in creative writing.
  • Brain Lateralization is the tendency for some neural functions or cognitive processes to be specialized to one side of the brain or the other. It gives rise to the concept of the Left and right brain hemispheres.
  • Clustering – Dividing the whole story into sub-stories and elaborating on each sub-story.
  • Eureka Point– The time when suddenly an idea sparkles, after a thorough effort to reignite the muse failing miserably so many times, is known as the Eureka point.

10 Innovative ways to Beat Writer’s Block: (My take)

  • Switching on or off the bed lamp– It may sound like a story of a love-stricken soul but believe me, it helps to come up with a clear mind if stuck between choosing a direction of the narration.
  • Taking a bus ride in the city– Travel by public transport, preferably a bus, and sit by the window. Look into the immense horizon of people going about their businesses and observe closely. It will give sufficient inspiration to write new material.
  • Watching an ant line– The food-searching ant colony in a park can give subtle insight into various perspectives on life if the mind is in a muddle. Close observation of the ant colony helps to beat Writer’s block.
  • Taking a shower– Scientifically, doing mundane stuff like taking a shower helps eradicate all the negative feelings and anxiety. It helps to focus on the writing and creative process.

“Write.

Write it right.

Write it wrong–but write it!” –Jessica de la Davies

  • Sitting at the railway station– If you want to write about philosophy and current events, you better go to the nearest railway station. Just choose an empty chair in the corner and enjoy the herd of people coming and going towards their destination. It is a must ritual for retrospection & Soul-searching in life.
  • Listening to Metal songs– Stuck somewhere in the article/novel writing, listen to hard rock metal. The more chaos, the clearer the brain will become. The 1960-70 genre is my favorite.
  • Solving Calculus problems– Solving double integral calculus problems is not only the prerogative of an aspiring physician or mathematics scholar. If anybody is unfamiliar with calculus, they can choose puzzles or Sudoku solving or watch Brain Games on National Geographic! A content writer can benefit from this as it helps to bring back the quintessential focus in writing.
  • Reading in the Crowd– Go to a nearby bookstore and pick some books. If the store is noisy, do not complain and just read. If that is not possible, switch on the TV at a loud volume and try to read! Contrary to what you think, this helps to rekindle the writing spark.
  • Binge-watching– Take some time off writing if you are stuck in the middle and watch your favorite series on Netflix/Prime/Hot star. This is a proven way to beat Writer’s block, at least for me.
  • Sleeping during Presentation in the office– Last but not least, my ingenious method to beat Writer’s block. When someone in the meeting is blabbering about a presentation, take a sneaky short nap. Do not blame me if you are ever caught by your superior during such an activity! The nap process is the eureka point’s best way to spark ideas.

These ten ways are my take on beating Writer’s block. Depending on the situation, you can take any of these suggestions.

Inspiration- Dan Brown, the author of the Da Vinci Code, hangs upside down as a cure for Writer’s block. According to Brown, when he does so-called inversion therapy, it helps him relax and concentrate better on his writing. The more he does it, the more he feels relieved and inspired to write. If watching the world from an inverted angle helps him write such classics, it is important to encourage such weird stuff!

“You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.”- Jodi Picoult

Random stuff like watching a child’s paper boat & sketches, the smile of a total stranger on a train, random waving of rural children to a guy standing on the edge of a moving train, the joy of school children in the ice cream parlor, Facebook posts of random persons, advertisement hoardings, the laughter of a girl in the nearby balcony – all are inspirations to write down an epic story, blog or novel may be. Just keep looking for inspiration, and keep the notebook and pen ready! Because the creative flow can occur at any moment.

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