As a songwriter, lyricist, music journo and general creative who has always written stories and poems from early childhood, writer’s block is definitely nothing new to me. When I was younger and led a somewhat simpler life, I’d simply shrug and resolve to go back to whatever creative thing I was doing when I felt re-inspired.
But now I’m older and feel like I’m sometimes leading multiple lives at once, I need to be able to fit writing in with whatever else I’m doing. That means there is no time for writer’s block!
So why do we get writer’s block?
A lot of the time the main cause of writer’s block is actually the fact that we have too many ideas and feel overwhelmed. Other reasons include having too high expectations, being distracted (ahem, social media), loss of passion or no clarity around your end goal. Or hell, you’re just tired!
So what can we do about it?
Here are a few of my tips to punch writers block in the face:
1. Word vomit
Open a Word doc or grab a sheet of paper and just begin writing down your train of thought. Forget spelling, grammar and full sentences; just write whatever is on your mind in no particular order. Circle round, write gibberish, who cares! Sometimes all you need to do is start and usually, something will spark.
2. Go for a walk
Exercise produces endorphins and endorphins make you happy (Legally Blonde 4eva). Getting the blood flowing around your body means you’re also getting the blood flowing around your brain. This makes you more energised, alert and helps you to focus. Cause science, bitch.
3. Write things in dot point
Pretty much every one of my essays in uni was formed through me mapping it out in dot point first. It was the fastest way to get ideas down and plan the direction, which left more time for drinking goon with my friends in the park. Sometimes we get so caught up in the details that we get kind of stuck. Map things out in dot point to start, then arrange those points in the order you want them and add the fluff afterwards!
4. You don’t have to rhyme!
In fact, it’s better if you don’t. Use slant rhymes (imperfect rhymes) instead. For example ‘right’ and ‘drive’ or ‘star’ and ‘smart.’ See, they kinda sound similar, especially if you were to sing them, but they’re not cliche. Be original and if I hear one more asshole rhyming “heart” and “apart” I’ll probably stab myself in the ear .
5. Keep perspective
Logically the only way to have content is to just begin creating content! Stop trying to be perfect and remember there’s a thing called a draft, and a second draft, and a 23rd draft! You learn through experience, so just start.
6. Come back later
Sometimes if it’s not meant to be, it’s not meant to be. If you’ve tried the above tips and you’re still not feelin’ it, walk away and start again tomorrow. We don’t always have space in our brains for everything that we want to do/need to do and to be honest you’ll probably write something of better quality tomorrow.