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Productivity Tips: 5 Writer's Block Tips

Writer's block. Usually, it's just a temporary inability to write. The key to getting out of a slump is understanding why you're in the slump. Determine the underlying cause.

You may feel out of ideas. Maybe you're having trouble getting started. Or not interested enough in your current project. Or you're distracted by external issues. Or you're stuck on your project, unsure what the next step is. Once you understand the cause, usually addressing that cause directly can push you forward.

Here are five tips to help you get writing again:

crumpled paper and chewed pencil

Just Get It Down

Start anywhere, not necessarily at the beginning. You can go back and write a beginning later. Don't worry about getting it right. Just start typing. Set aside doubts and distractions. Write whatever comes to mind, even if it comes out garbage. You can polish it later. Pretend that no one else will ever see what you write. Turn off your internal critic.

Step Away from It

Use the opportunity to get something else done from your to-do list. Writers with writer's block have notoriously clean houses. But when you get back to writing, it will be nice to have fewer to-do items waiting. Or perhaps you can use the time for other writing-related tasks, like administrative chores, queries, or organizing.

Take a break and do something completely different while letting your subconscious work on your project for a while. Get some exercise. Work on something totally unrelated that may change your perspective, so you come back to your project seeing it from another angle.

Provide More Input

Learning more about your subject may get your juices flowing again. Immerse yourself in reading and research related to the topic of your project. For an article or blog post, this may mean reading other articles on the topic or paging through reference books. For fiction writing, this may mean doing more research on your historical period, geographic setting, or technology used in the story.

Change Your Medium

Vary your writing medium to change your perspective. This may mean switching between computer and paper and pen. If you like paper, try unlined or graph paper or use a different kind of pen. If you prefer typing, change your font face or color.

Consider dictation. Sometimes talking it out can get your thoughts flowing again. Use a voice recorder and just ramble, even if you veer off onto other subjects. This works well while exercising or hiking. You can transcribe and edit later.

Mix Up Your Projects

Some writers like to work on more than one project at a time and always have multiple projects going. If one project gets stuck, work on another. This helps you from getting burned out on one topic, but can scatter your focus. Consider varying project types: Fiction versus non-fiction, work versus pleasure, poetry versus prose.

Hopefully, these tips can get you writing. If your problem is getting started each day on your writing session, see the previous tip on Bridging Between Sessions.