Writer's block: everyone gets it, six ways to break it - Dooley PR

Writing is life for a PR professional. On some days the words don’t want to flow, this can be frustrating and time-consuming, especially when you’re on a deadline. You’ve probably heard that you should “just write” and the words will come. This method might work, but it might just be frustrating and hinder your abilities further. The problem with solving writer’s block is that each situation and person affected is different; it may take longer to break the cycle than you would like.

Today we’re going to discuss some methods you can use to overcome writer’s block and why they might work for you.

1. Research

Unless you’re in a very unique situation, it is unlikely that you’re writing something new. Information is at our fingertips. Research your topic to understand different viewpoints and get a better grasp of your own. If you’re having difficulty trying to figure out what to search for ask yourself some questions about the topic and seek out the answers to them. The different perspectives that are available for any given idea can generate more ideas and cause the creative juices to flow.

Another great way to see a different perspective is to talk with someone. Grab a colleague or friend and tell them your idea. Not only will you be able to hear what they think on the subject, talking about it out loud can be the jolt you need to get your fingers tapping on a keyboard.

2. Move

Whether its dancing, yoga or taking a walk, moving your body can free your mind. Research has shown exercise is linked to the hippocampus – the region of your brain that affects your ability to imagine the future and think creatively. A 2014 study by Stanford University suggests creativity can increase by 60 per cent during and after a walk. Whatever gets you moving, most research suggests you do it regularly, so you can get into the rhythm of the movement and let your mind wander freely.

3. Switch Activities

We’re not meant to be focused on one task for too long; most university classes are 50 to 90 minutes long for a reason. This is why, if you’re working on one idea for too long, you might suddenly run out of steam. One way to get over this hump is to switch tasks. Depending on the piece, there might be supplementary materials that need to be completed. A graph, infographic or cutline for an image might be the trigger needed to write more in-depth information.

If there is nothing else to work on related to your project, completely switch gears by starting a new task – and it doesn’t have to be related to writing. Wash the dishes, clean that desk drawer you’ve been putting off or read that article you have open in your internet tabs. Whatever the activity, set yourself a time limit so you’re back to work in about 20 minutes. You’ve given your brain a much-needed little break.

4. Change Your Scenery

Pick up your work and go somewhere else. Most of us sit at the same desk, in the same chair day in and day out. A change of scenery might be just what you’re looking for to write that next paragraph. A new environment stimulates all of your senses, which can be the creative jolt you need. Studies suggest different environments help with different tasks: blue walls invoke creative thoughts while red walls help with short-term memory tasks, high ceilings may help you think more broadly and being surrounded by nature can be calming and clear your mind.

Find the space that’s right for what you’re working on if you want to be more productive and creative.

5. Listen to Music or Listen to Nothing

A change in environment doesn’t mean that you have to move to a different location; sometimes our brains can be tricked by the sounds that surround us. Depending on if you need a new idea or are just plugging away at an old one, different levels of noise can help you achieve your writing goals.

A recent study conducted from Gies College of Business, suggests background noise is great for creativity. The ideal sound level for creative thinking is 70 decibels – the radio in the background or other coffee drinkers in Starbucks. This level of noise helps people think outside of the box.

The study also suggests taking a break from noise, as too much can become distracting. Take some time to focus on your work without any background noise – the quiet of a library can be the creative stimulation you need if you’re used to working in a noisy environment.

6. Recharge

Recognize that sometimes you can’t write. When this happens, take a breather and recharge. People today are more stressed than ever before. We put so much pressure on ourselves that we get burnt out. It is unlikely what you’re working on can’t wait or be done by someone else. It might be hard, but take some time for yourself, a much-needed break – even an hour or two – can make a world of difference.

Do you have any tips for breaking through writer’s block? Are you having trouble finding the words yourself? Let us know.

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