Five ways to get out of your own head and beat that dreaded writer's block

It happens to everyone – we have an essay to write or a blog to type, but we can’t think of the right thing to say. Nobody is immune to the blasted writer’s block, but we've come up with a few ways to beat it

Nicola Chan |

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The holidays are some of the best times to write – you can update your travel blogs, pen poetry, or finally get started with that big novel you’ve been meaning to write for ages.

But there are a million ways to tell a story, and sometimes that can be a bad thing – having so many possibilities can cause our minds to go completely blank when we’re threatened by the fear of not being the most sassy or ingenious writer ever. Luckily for you, the Young Post team knows how to get you unstuck from your own thoughts! Here are our five top tips for beating writer’s block.

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Break your writing routine

If you sit writing in the same spot with the same surroundings all the time, then maybe it’s time to move somewhere new. That could be a coffee shop, library, or park in the city.

For those of you that prefer to write at home, try changing your background music, or switch things up by writing in a different order. For example, you could try writing a story from the middle or the end, rather than the beginning.

Learn from great writers

A great way to breathe new life into your writing is to read widely and learn from other experienced wordsmiths. Nothing is truly original, and every writer and artist that’s existed has been inspired by someone else.

Experiment with different ways of writing, and develop a style that works best for you. It might help to think about what your favourite author would do if they were in your shoes.

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Write freely

Nothing gets those creative juices flowing better than an uninterrupted writing sesh. Take a single word, theme, or idea, and list out everything that’s related that comes to your mind, or set a timer and write about a subject for 10 minutes without stopping.

Also, ditch the keyboard for a while! Writing with a pen is a good mental exercise that uses parts of your brain responsible for language, thinking, and working memory. You’ll be amazed by how this simple little practice can help unleash your creativity.

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Talk to people, or yourself

Focusing too much on something can mean you miss what might have been staring you in the face all along. Turning off “writer mode” will allow your mind to wander freely. Talking about your ideas to others puts you in a more relaxed state of mind, which might help you nail down that expression or phrase you’ve been trying to come up with for hours.

Also, while you should never take someone else’s ideas and pass them off as your own, listening to other people’s opinions will help you think out of the box and look at things from a different perspective.

Finally, if you find that everyone is busy doing something else, there are few better conversation partners than yourself. Practise talking to yourself out loud, to find what you really want to say.

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Don’t be an editor

Writers are often perfectionists, and refuse to accept anything less than perfect. While it might be tempting to go over a line again and again until you’re 100 per cent satisfied with it, it’s probably best to move on and look back at it later.

Editing is something best done by someone else, or by yourself at a later stage. A story, poem, or article is much easier to fix when you can see the whole thing at once and you can play around with different words and sentence structures.

Edited by Ben Young