Writer's block has plagued writers of all ages since the first ancient scholar decided to put his thoughts down on something more solid than an apprentice's memory. From students with papers due tomorrow to noted authors of great novels and publications, struggling for the next thing to say has and will continue to cause frustration, hair-pulling, and even giving up.
Writer's block can cause immediate problems for those writing on a deadline — have you ever read a newspaper article or a blog post only to realize halfway through that it's simply been repeating the same three or four thoughts in different ways, stretching the material to meet a certain length? — but the issues caused to those without deadlines may be even more harmful. Many writers with great ideas hit that wall and then sit on their works for months, even years, the tide of creative flow stemmed by this pesky block.
So how can we as writers overcome writer's block? One of the simplest, yet arguably the most difficult, ways is to keep writing. Oftentimes you will find that your block can be defeated through repetition: writing so many words or for a certain amount of time each day, for example. Even if all you can find to talk about is how much you hate writer's block, you will begin to find that the habit of writing can carry you past your block. Set a time, find a quiet space, and write about any and everything that comes to mind.
Another good method to overcoming writer's block is to simply set your piece aside for a while. Letting it out of your mind for a few days, or even longer, can give you time to release any stress the piece is causing you and clear your mind of the clutter of words and phrases that haven't been working for you. When you come back to the piece, you can read it with a fresh mind, and many times you will find that the words you were looking so desperately for simply roll off your fingers onto the page.
In combination with your habit of writing daily, you may find that your creativity and problem-solving skills will increase, helping you to overcome and even prevent writer's block in the future.
Overcoming writer's block can be a daunting task, even for the seasoned writer, and sometimes your dedication and determination may not be enough. No matter how many days in a row you dutifully sit down to write, the words may still elude you.
In these cases, something a little more drastic may be required. Finding a change of scenery, whether it be a trip to the coast, a window seat at a local coffee house, or simply moving your notebook or computer to a different room in the house, just might be enough to jar your senses and encourage those crucial creative juices to begin flowing again. Perhaps a certain brand of tea fills your head with aromas and clears your mind for new and fresh ideas, or a walk through the park with a pet or loved one.
After all, writing comes from experience; if you find yourself stuck, go out and have new experiences. They will give you the fuel you need to keep pushing through. Above all else, never stop writing. Your experiences and views are unique, and whether you publish them, share them with a close friend, or simply keep them for yourself, putting them to words is a rewarding and fulfilling endeavor.