A lot of storytellers can attest to the fact that once in their lives, maybe twice or even a lot of times, they have experienced a writer’s block. To some, it’s no laughing matter because it can actually delay you from deadlines for days, weeks and even months.
Admittedly, I myself have been through the same thing. While crafting a story or a script, I will suddenly run out of words and find myself clueless on what to write next. And that’s okay, we all need a break, right?
I’ve been wondering how fellow storytellers cope with this unlucky situation and finally a good friend of mine back in college fed my curiosity. I invited her for an hour-long zoom chit chat because I know she has a lot to share. Graduating Editor-in-Chief of our Official Campus Publication at Lyceum of the Philippines University-Batangas, and being a seasoned writer herself, for sure, Arnealle Noelle Vergara has been in that very same situation a lot of times in her career.
Arnealle enumerated 10 creative ways how she overcomes writer’s block. If you’re an aspiring storyteller, and maybe running out of the techniques to get through, here are some tips and tricks you might want to consider doing:
1. Take a break. Don’t waste a dozen of hours trying to force yourself to work when you know you’ve reached your peak already. Even robots rest, so why won’t you? It’s important that you take a break every now and then to make sure that you get enough rest for a body reset, which is what you will utmostly need if you want to regenerate energy for your brain to pump.
2. Listen to Lo-Fi music. Let your brain cell ease a little. Listen to something that will lift the pressure in your head right now and help you focus more to where your head should be at. Music can create a mood and help beat the anxiety and stress, which is causing your writer’s block. In my case, lo-fi is the kind of music that creates a writing mood.
3. Sleep. Sleep is for the weak is a hypocrisy and believe me when I tell you, staying awake for hours beyond what your body can take is like telling your brain to just stop functioning. There’s a reason why sleeping is part of our physiology and if you do not listen to what your body tells you to do, then don’t think you can force that brain to churn out words and write-ups for you.
4. Watch something that interests you. My personal choice is Rupaul on Netflix. This one won’t only put you in a better mood, but is also best when you need words to just float right in the air. With drag queens flooding this whole new vocabulary, surely it will tickle your creative brain cells once again.
5. Live a little. Laugh a little. Hang out at 9GAG. An overload of information will slow down the process of putting words into paragraphs and consolidating a publishable piece, add to it all the pressure that comes with having writing as a job. You think you always need to be serious, but the key is to jam up a little. Laugh at petty memes. Being a writer doesn’t really require you to be prim and proper all the time. These memes can even add up to working out that block.
6. Be the romantic coffee drinker. Not only am I biased for being a coffee addict, but being intimate with drinking your coffee, can help cure that writer’s block. Sit at the veranda, watch people pass by, stop, observe and just take small sips. It’s not just the caffeine that you need for the extra kick, it is the experience that will foster a better writing disposition.
7. Sweat a bit. Resting on your chair, and getting your mind all worked up, isn’t the only exercise you should do. Exercise for real! Let that body pump some iron. A short workout will wake your endorphins, improving your brain function. You can’t grow your butt sitting all day, get those peaches bumming, and words running.
8. Don’t forget to live your life, too. This is funny but works well for me in kicking out a little thrill to your seemingly boring routine causing that block. Swiping right on your dating app doesn’t entirely mean you have to talk to them. Sometimes it’s the tingle of who swipes who that will keep you elated and frantic. Swiping right doesn’t equate Mr. Right, but can keep you to write.
9. Talk to people. Whether it’s a love interest or that go-to friend, the key here is to put your mind into something else. Tickle yourself with a different emotion. Elate yourself with new stories - something far from what you are focused on right now. Break up with that character you just created. Talk to real people.
10. Booze a little. Strictly not for the under-18, and should be done with moderation. But taking a quick booze can help pop your creative juices. This hack has been one of my go-to especially when I’ve exhausted all the other options stated above.
The list above might seem quite long but I assure you, these are tried and tested by Arnealle herself. I will never doubt her recommendations. After all, she’s been a writer for 12 years now and she is still in the creative industry while juggling her coffee shop business. She’s already living the dream and it’s now time to live yours.
But remember that these are just temporary ice breakers you might want to try after recharging yourself from writing. The road towards overcoming a writer’s block may have been crazy, but it is important to note that if the ‘why’ is clear, the ‘how’ is easy. Try to understand your core, why you started writing, what you are writing, and who you are writing for. This will serve as your compass to discover your way back to your article or story.