Um… right… okay… so you have something you need to draft but just can’t get the words out. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there (and I most certainly share your pain!)
Writer’s block. Ugh. It strikes you when you least expect it and is enough to floor even the most experienced of wordsmiths.
You have an idea for a story, social post, feature, blog, or your colleague has tasked you with pulling something together for the company website – but your mind is drawing an absolute blank.
As much as you try, there’s nothing there. A torrid tumbleweed of silence that does little to help you in your quest to start the piece – let alone finish it – as you search longingly for a beginning, middle and end.
And then there’s a deadline to meet! The added pressure burning your retinas and looming ever closer minute by minute as the clock ticks on. As you try in vain to get something – anything – written down on your screen or pad, you ultimately succumb to the perils of the oh-so crippling writer’s block.
However, do not panic! Instead, wipe away the onslaught of sweat from your brow as you read this, and fear not fellow writer. For I have rallied the Scriba troops to give you the inside scoop and their top tips on how to tackle your storytelling stumbles in your true time of need.
- Get some fresh air
Clear off. Go on, do it (after you’ve read this of course). Exit the room to reset and recharge. Go for a walk – ideally somewhere quiet and calming. A spot of fresh air can do your mind, body and soul the world of good, and that precious thinking time as you get the blood flowing can help give you clarity to plan out how you are going to tackle your story.
- Distract yourself
Whether it’s reading a book or simply going into the kitchen to make a cup of tea, taking yourself away from the situation can alleviate the strain you feel sat at your desk. Our word guru Ruth Harrison-Davies says: “I listen to an instrumental playlist. Spotify has music for concentration which is amazing.” (Other music streaming platforms are available).
- Just write
Yes, I know, it might sound silly when you have writer’s block, but just put something down. It could even be your shopping list or a plan for the week. It doesn’t necessarily have to do with your story. Anything that gets you into the throes of writing – whatever form that takes – could inspire your article to unfold. Scriba scriber Jenny Gibson delves into this deeper by adding: “Don’t try to craft a perfect intro either. Just start somewhere and get something down as a starting point, like throwing your clay down on a potter’s wheel.”
- Get visual with your plan
Add colour to your thought process to help things stick in the mind a little better. Categorising things can help you to structure your blog and prioritise the details you must include. Our linguist Amy Lloyd has a penchant for sticky notes and bright pens to make her thoughts come to life. She says: “Any ideas, whack them down on paper instead of trying to start from the beginning. This no-pressure brainstorming helps the ideas flow.”
- Change your scenery
A bit like the distraction and fresh air techniques, step away and find somewhere new to think through your story and the ideas you have. It could be your favourite café or a relaxing room in your home. Scriba’s founding word nerd Katie Mallinson suggests: “A change of perspective sometimes means the content flows – the best titles, or most compelling openers, usually come to me in the shower or the middle of the night (often the trickiest places to record my thoughts!)”
- Be positive
Overall, writing is an enjoyable experience and a form of escapism like no other. We absolutely love it here – if you couldn’t tell – so we know that if the words are just not there in that moment, there is no need to beat yourself up about it. Take a step back and look at things positively instead of panicking and getting frustrated.
Use the tips we’ve mentioned to help get you into the right frame of mind, so you can be at a point where the words flow and you are proud of the masterpiece you have created.