Adapted from “Writer’s block: 101 proven tips for how to cure and beat writer’s block used by writers,” originally posted on the Stop Procrastinating blog. Reprinted with permission.
8. Break the task down
The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one. – Mark Twain
Break down the task of writing into bite-sized chunks by creating a plan or outline and giving yourself realistic targets and deadlines. You’ll be using the same technique as one of the most prolific and successful writers of all time.
9. Write a letter
Follow the advice of one of America’s greatest writers. When musing over writer’s block, John Steinbeck suggested a good cure was to imagine writing a letter to a friend or a relative. You could start by telling them about a great new friend you’ve met, a character from your novel, or the topic of the content you want to write about.
10. Write anywhere
Learning how to write anywhere was a key remedy for many writers. Being able to jot down notes anywhere and at any time unlocked their imagination and removed the pressure of writing at a set time of day. The reason for this is similar to why sleeping helps creativity.
When you aren’t focusing on the task at hand – because you’re riding in a taxi, on the bus, or eating lunch – your mind will be working in the background on the issue.
Guaranteed, just when you are in the middle of something else, an idea will come to you. If you don’t have a notebook, you might lose your moment of creation forever.
Many writers keep a notebook with them at all times for when an idea comes to them and they need to write at a moment’s notice. Many writers who suffered from writer’s block taught themselves to keep notes and write whenever they were inspired.
11. Find your optimal time
Whether in the morning, afternoon or late at night, many respondents to our survey said that disciplining themselves to write at the same time every day had a positive impact on their creativity. You could keep a diary of when you should write. Writing down your writing goals with a specific time in mind is key to achieving them.
12. Make a mind map
Don’t be constrained by the page in front of you. Mind map your creativity or brainstorm ideas: Write down ideas that come to you and pin them to a board or scatter them over the floor. Write in scraps and notebooks and throw it all together at the end.
13. Write to music
In her “rules for writing,” Hilary Mantel, the award-winning writer of Wolf Hall, says she listens to music while she is writing. A number of our surveyed writers listened to inspiring music while they worked and it helped unlock their creativity. Many said classical music worked well as the lack of lyrics didn’t distract and this type of music put them into a lower trance state allowing them to access their imagination far more effectively.
14. Build up a sweat
If there is one elixir of life, it is exercise. Exercising increases energy levels and improves the flow of oxygen to the brain. As a result, exercise has been linked with improved creativity, increased focus, and the creation of extra cell matter. It has even been found to prevent age-related cognitive disorders, such as dementia.
Taking a break to quicken the heartbeat results in quickening your writing. However, not all exercise has to be hard work. The stereotype of the walking genius is based on truth. Researchers at Stanford University found that walking improves a person’s creative output by 60%.