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Combating Writers Block

Whether you're a professional writer or write for pleasure, we all know what it feels like to experience writer's block. You'll sit and stare at a blank page with a pen in hand, but nothing comes to mind. You may even lull yourself into a trance by staring at the blinking cursor on the computer. When you find yourself in this position, there are a few tips to follow to help encourage the flow of creative thoughts.

Writing, for me, begins well before I'm sitting down to type on the computer or sitting with my journal. My thoughts for what I'd like to write about start while I'm out on a morning walk, getting ready for the day, driving to work, and everything else in between. Conversations and my environment trigger specific ideas that I bookmark to write about later, and when these moments happen, it's essential to have a process in place so you can come back to it. Make a note of your ideas as they arise in a way that is convenient for you; that might look like making a memo on your phone, writing it in your journal, or even recording it if you have the resources. The train of thought you experience in a specific moment will come and go, so if you can capture it before it's gone, you might find that you'll have more to write about later.

Take a moment to think about where you usually write. Whether it's in your office, at the dining room table, or at a specific cafe, many of us tend to become creatures of habit who write in the same space. Writing in the same space every day can lead to a stagnant train of thought. Changing where you write can help you think differently; new environments trigger a different thought process and maybe just what you need.

When you initially sit down to begin writing, give yourself a friendly reminder to write for yourself first. Essentially, write your first draft without considering how your audience will react. This will allow you to get all your thoughts down without second-guessing yourself and eases the stress of writing for an audience. In the subsequent drafts, you can refine your work to ensure your ideas are concise and attractive to your readers.

If you're allowing yourself a chunk of time to write, I find that it's best to make yourself comfortable. Create an environment that is conducive to creative thinking. Put away your distractions by placing your phone in the next room over and refraining from opening any other tabs on your computer. Make yourself a cup of tea and bring a glass of water so you won't have to get up to get it later. Open the curtains and allow as much natural light into the space as you can, and do anything else that will set you up for a successful writing session.

When I'm attempting to write for an extended period of time, practicing the Pomodoro Technique has been an enormous help. Set a timer for twenty-five minutes and write without distractions for the entire time. When the timer goes off, take a five-minute break. After repeating the process four times, take a fifteen to thirty-minute break. Taking frequent breaks can help make daunting tasks seem more achievable, and before you know it, you've finished your writing for the day.

Set tangible rewards for yourself for achieving your writing goals. Have a coffee date with a friend when you've accomplished writing ten pages, go for your favorite walk after you've spent the morning writing, or plan a trip to enjoy when you've finished writing your book. No matter what your goals are, having a reward system set in place for when you've reached those milestones will help make your accomplishments that much more rewarding.

While you continue on your writing journey, keep in mind that you may experience lulls and lapses in creativity. Some days you may be able to quickly put pen to paper, or your fingers may dance around the keyboard as your stories and pages develop, while others, you might draw a blank. Be kind to yourself, as everyone experiences these struggles. Never give up, and take inspiration from your experiences; we all have a story within us.

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