We all love that feeling when the creativity flows. Brilliant ideas, clever words, and a flawless title flow onto the page, making us feel like Hemingway or Shakespeare. However, for every creative burst, there’s the time spent staring at a blank document on the screen, typing and retyping mediocre first sentences and desperately Googling “how to beat writer’s block”.
Unfortunately, everyone working in a creative role suffers from writer’s block at some point, or falls into an idea rut, feeling like every possible topic has been exhausted.
Fortunately, you don’t have to fight writer’s block forever. While it’s possible to finally stumble upon a creative spark after minutes (or hours) of staring a blank screen, there are some easy ways to kickstart your creativity and get those good creative juices flowing again.
How to Beat Writer’s Block Tip 1: Just Start Writing
It seems oxymoronic to prescribe writing for how to beat writer’s block, but there is a power in simply getting words – any words – on a page. Instead of staring at a blank screen and letting your creativity drain, just get the first sentence of your article on there.
It doesn’t matter if it’s such a terrible first sentence that you wouldn’t even show it to your best friend. By getting words on the page, suddenly, your blank screen isn’t quite so intimidating. Take it one sentence at a time, and you’ll find those ideas will start flowing freely again. Just don’t forget to go back and fix that first sentence!
How to Beat Writer’s Block Tip 2: Take A Walk
Here at Volume Nine, a strange phenomenon occurs in the office around 2 PM every day. I’ll look up from my work, and notice that most people are no longer at their desks. Instead, they’re walking around the office – chatting with coworkers, staring out the windows at our million dollar view, or munching on snacks in the kitchen.
Unsurprisingly, between 1 and 3 PM has been shown to be the height of the mid-afternoon slump. After spending all morning tackling tough creative problems for clients, the burnout is very real come 2 PM. It seems that my coworkers have stumbled upon a way to get those juices flowing again – take a walk!
A recent Stanford study found that walking improves creative inspiration during and immediately after the exercise. Walking inside or outside both resulted in similar spikes in measured creativity. So, next time you find your idea bank completely drained, get out of your chair and take a stroll. You’ll likely come back feeling refreshed and inspired, even if you leave some annoyed coworkers in your wake.
How to Beat Writer’s Block Tip 3: Collaborate
Sometimes, all you need to dig yourself out of a creative rut is another person. Bouncing ideas off a coworker or friend is a great way to kickstart your creative flow. Set aside 15 minutes, set a topic, and shout out any idea that comes to mind. Don’t worry about only saying good ideas – the most important part is getting into the flow. You’ll filter out the bad ideas later.
Often, you’ll find that you’ll be able to build off each other’s thoughts, giving you significantly more ideas than you could have created on your own. Fast Company put together an article on how to run an effective brainstorming session if you want to make things a bit more formal.
How to Beat Writer’s Block Tip 4: Switch It Up
Unfortunately, many of us must do our creative work sitting at the same desk every day. Surrounded by an unchanging landscape, it makes sense that we could get a case of writer’s block! Next time you’re feeling uninspired, take your laptop (or, even better, a pen and paper), and try working from a new location.
Whether you just move to a different part of the office or walk to a nearby cafe, bookstore, or brewery (we won’t tell your boss), switching up your scenery will kickstart your creativity.
How to Beat Writer’s Block Tip 5: Play With Words
Whether you’re stuck writing an article, a catchy title, or just coming up with blogging ideas, play around with words to spark your creativity. Challenge yourself to include a certain word or in your next paragraph – VisuWords is a fun visual tool to find words connected to your topic. See if you can add an alliteration, slap in some onomatopoeia, or chime in with a rhyme.
Wordplay will make writing an article or creating a memorable title feel less like a chore and more like a fun game you’re playing with yourself. If the opportunity presents itself, you could even challenge your creative coworkers!
If you try all these tips and still can’t come up with creative content, consider bringing in outside experts to take your content creation to the next level. May we suggest checking out Volume 9?