To learn how to kick its ass, you first must understand what writer’s block is and what caused it. Knowing what it is and understanding how it is caused is essential because you can identify which solutions will work best.
According to MasterClass “Writer’s block is a phenomenon experienced by writers that is best described as an overwhelming feeling of being stuck in the writing process without the ability to move forward and write anything new.”
In her dissertation, Dr Ahmed (2019) of North Florida University states that there are four factors that research associates with writer’s block and explains how they impact people.
First, there are physiological or affective factors “[impair the functioning of the cognitive process used for writing.]” (2019, p.11)
Second, motivational factors that impact you, “range from ceasing to find writing enjoyable to fear of criticism” (2019, p.11)
Third, cognitive causes, “such as perfectionism or fixating on rules and structure to the point it disrupts one’s flow of ideas,” essentially you are obsessed over the quality of your writing to where you are discouraged from writing (2019, p.11).
You may already know these last factors as they are behavioral. Have you ever procrastinated? What does your schedule look like? These factors allow room for distraction thus you are not focused on the task at hand (2019, p.11)
Now that you know some factors that cause writer’s block to think about your situation. Which one impacts you the most? From here on, you should look at the possible ways to heal and work through your stressors. While you are figuring that out, try some possible solutions below.
Clean Your Environment
Before you start writing, look around you. Is your area clean? Is it organized? If your answers to those questions are no, then you should probably clean it up. Often sitting in a disorganized and unclean environment negatively impacts us and our ability to write. There are distractions everywhere, perhaps even odd odors. You may not be able to focus on your work. Also, cleaning tends to be cathartic. So by cleaning your environment, you may process some stress that is holding you back.
Change Your Environment
Where do you typically study? If you answered “my bedroom,” try moving your writing station to a living room or an office. If you were already studying, there try writing outside in your backyard. Writing in a library or a coffee shop (if it is safe to do so) are also possible alternatives. It does not matter where you move to; the point is for your environment to change. A location change can stimulate creative thoughts. You may have negatively associated your current writing station with the fear of not being productive and experiencing a writing block. Essentially, you prophesize your eminent failure to write at least half a page. So by changing your environment, you can break that negative thought process.
Work in Groups
Considering the global pandemic, we are experiencing only do this face-face when it is safe. Otherwise, this can be done on Zoom or other similar platforms. This particular step is essential since “exertion of mental effort” is contagious. Shocking, I know, but some studies show a correlation between working and high performance. This benefit, however, seems to be conditioned. As long as you do not see or interact with their stimuli, you will be influenced by their hard work.
Do or Work on Something Else
Sometimes we get unmotivated because of the sheer frustration and disappointment we feel when experiencing writer’s block. Working successfully on something else may motivate and energize you. Also, you may find it easier to focus on a particular task and then switch back.
You do not necessarily have to work on another project. As long as whatever your doing is timed then this step is highly effective. So you could also paint, nap, watch a show, wash the dishes, fold the laundry, or go on a walk.
Desender, K., Beurms, S., & Van den Bussche, E. (2015). Is mental effort exertion contagious?. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 23(2), 624-631. doi: 10.3758/s13423-015-0923-3
Ahmed, S. (2019). An analysis of writer’s block: Causes, characteristics, and solutions (Master’s in Psychology). University of North Florida.