In your life, have you ever written so much as a single sentence? If you answered yes, then hooray—you’re officially a writer! And if you’re a writer, chances are, you’ve probably suffered from writer’s block at one point or another.
If I had to guess, I’d estimate that approximately 200% of writers have been plagued by writer’s block in their lives. But then again, I’ve never been very good at math. I did wait until college to take my first algebra class, after all. And, I still count on my fingers more than I care to admit. You could say that math has never been my strong suit.
Anyway, in an effort to help you overcome the dreaded condition that is writer’s block, here is a list of my favorite things to do when the words just aren’t coming.
Let’s get write down to it!
Research arbitrary topics that are completely unrelated to your assignment.
Are you currently working on an article about what feminism looks like in 2018? Great!
Start your research by reading 15, 25, or 30 (if you’re feeling particularly productive) articles about “How to Make the Best Corned Beef You’ll Ever Eat.” Don’t forget to pair it with some spicy mustard. That shit’s the bomb.
Found yourself feeling hungry after looking at all that tasty meat?
No worries—I’ll cover what you need to do if that happens in my next point.
Make yourself a snack.
All of the brain-power you used during your research about corned beef made you, hungry didn’t it? That happens to the best of us writers. Why don’t you head down to the kitchen (or back to the café counter…if you decided to put actual clothes on today) and grab a snack.
It doesn’t need to be anything elaborate. After all, you probably don’t have a ton of time—you’ve got deadlines to meet! Some nice string cheese, grapes, and maybe, say, an entire bag of chocolate chips will do.
Hey, it’s better than eating nothing at all, right?!
Daydream about traveling in Europe.
Better yet—take a few minutes out of your busy day and apply to renew your passport. Maybe even book a flight! Don’t have a travel companion? No big deal. You can totally use the experiences you have during your trip as material for your next piece.
It’ll be great. I just know it. After all, you’re well-known for your penchant for completely original story topics and your unique style of investigative journalism, right?
Pace around your house.
Maybe an idea will come to you when you’ve ventured into the basement for the first time this year. Who knows!
Google other, more successful writers.
Read all of their work.
Read anything and everything about them you can find.
Learn everything about them you possibly can.
After all, how can you ever expect to be as successful as them if you don’t know where they went to college, their entire career trajectory, and their home address? Let’s be real—you won’t.
This is what you have to do to be successful. Isn’t it?
Think “maybe if I [take a shower/go for a walk/go grab a cup of coffee/whatever]” an idea will come to me.
You’re absolutely right. Maybe it will. Or, maybe you’ll just end up wasting even more of your day than you already have. Hey, at least you’ll be clean, get some fresh air, and be hyped up on caffeine. Right?
Repeat the above steps until you look at the clock and realize it’s already 11 PM.
How did it get to be so late? You’ll ask yourself. I didn’t even get anything done today! Fuck. You’ll whisper under your breath. Eh, I’ll just get up extra early tomorrow and work on it. It’ll be fine. Continue reassuring yourself until you actually believe that you will.