Being a writer is not easy; I tell you that. I’ve been working as a freelance writer since 2007, and I can say that I still have so much to learn about the trade. Things get tricky when I go through what I’d like to call a “dry phase.”
To writers, I can tell you to do what I do during my dry phases. However, it may not be the ideal thing for you. You see, when I go through a dry phase, I stop what I’m doing and play an online game or one of the games I have on my phone or tablet. If you think you can wing it, I suggest trying my trick. Otherwise, the five tips in this article might help you. To each his own, after all.
There Is More to Writing
Writing an article doesn’t mean stringing words together and hoping they would automatically form a coherent thought. That is especially true if you’re writing for an audience. Your foremost goal should be to capture your readers’ interest and hold it so they’ll read right through the end of your piece. You must get a reader’s attention, hold on to it firmly, and pique his curiosity to drive your message.
When writing an article, you will need a hefty dose of creativity. The thing with creativity is, sometimes, it naturally flows within you, but other times it runs into blockages that can drive you crazy. I can’t tell you how often I’ve fallen short of pulling all my hair out due to writer’s block. Yes, I usually contend with stagnant creative juices, which can be annoying, especially when the deadline looms.
Creating word pictures for readers to enjoy or benefit from is an art. Writing clear and crisp imagery requires a certain panache only creativity can produce. Of course, as a writer, nothing holds you back from using similes and metaphors. Nevertheless, interweaving words, sentences, and paragraphs to form a readable piece develops the article’s essence.
Reasons for Writer’s Block
Getting writer’s block can be utterly frustrating, and you’re not alone in the struggle. Even the most seasoned journalists and novelists get it. There could be several reasons why you get writer’s block. One of the most common is timing. Yes, there is a right time to write. Sometimes, you have overflowing ideas that may need to cook for a while longer before you can write them down.
Another reason is fear. You struggle to put your ideas in writing for fear of criticism. You may think your writing is not good enough or doesn’t make sense; thus, you “hide” it from others to avoid critique.
Yet another reason is striving for perfectionism. You’re holding back from touching that keyboard because you want to get everything perfect in your head before doing so. Guess what? You’ll never do. Nobody’s perfect, not even the most creative wordsmiths. You are imperfect, so don’t expect your writing to be perfect.
How to Get Your Creative Juices Flowing
So, what do you do when, try as you might, nothing comes to mind? While there is no foolproof way to get the perfect ideas, you can work on getting your creative juices flowing. “Perfect is just this ideal you create but can never reach,” and the principle applies to your writing. Hence, at least achieve the mindset if you can’t write perfectly. Here are some time-tested tips to help you:
1) Keep a notepad handy. You never know when things you see, hear, smell, taste, or feel can trigger ideas you can use in your writing. Use your five senses as a radar when trying to find great ideas. Then, as soon as you have them, write them on your notepad for use now or later. Ideas can also come from anything you have read or heard, so be ready to take notes. It’s not like you will be stealing someone else’s ideas; you’ll only be using them to develop your own ideas, which makes them unique.
2) Breathe, relax, and go through your thoughts. You can’t expect yourself to come up with fresh ideas if your mind is in shambles. To get your creativity flowing, you need to have a clear mind. Learn how to compartmentalize. You may need to categorize your thoughts—one for writing prompts and ideas, one for your personal affairs, etc. At the same time, eliminate thoughts that could hinder your creativity because staying focused is impossible if something’s bothering you.
Relax and think about your personal experiences and interactions with others whenever possible. You’d be surprised to discover that these experiences influence your mindset and opinions, which would reflect in your writing. Take a journey towards self-discovery to find out what sets your emotions off. Uncover what ticks you off and what inspires you, then use these emotions to help you express your ideas. Do these, and you’ll be amazed at your creative growth.
3) Make your work area a catalyst for creativity. Believe it or not, where you write extensively impacts your creativity. Your creative juices will stagnate if you don’t feel happy or relaxed in your work area. How else can you be in a good state of mind if your work area is messy? Of course, you can expect a little chaos from a writer’s desk—a stack of paper and some writing instruments. Still, a heavily disorganized work area can cause too much distraction that will not be conducive to your creative flow.
If you have a dedicated work area, make sure to put up pictures or decorations that make you happy and put you in a relaxed state. Light up a scented candle, if you must. You’d be surprised at how a calm mind and body can get your creative juices flowing. With a clean and well-organized work area, you can work peacefully and not notice the passing of time.
4) Set the mood before you get started. Many writers go through a routine before they start writing for the day. Routine, in this case, varies from writer to writer. There is no one-size-fits-all. Instead, your pre-writing routine could be something you made up entirely by yourself. I did mention in the get-go what I do to crank up my writing mojo, and it works like a charm every time.
It could be a little sip of wine, chocolates, mood music, or anything that stirs your imagination. Try to see a pattern every time your write. What do you usually do before writing that seems to get your creative juices flowing? Is it the same every time? If so, then you have found your “routine.” Using that routine, set your mood’s pace and tempo, and everything else will follow.
5) Take a break and do something spontaneous. Loosen those tight, knotted muscles and let go. You may be writing too much to the point of overexerting yourself. Stop doing that. Learn to let go and let loose once in a while. Do something fun and spontaneous to get your adrenaline going. You’d be surprised at how it can make your imagination run wild. Then you’ll have something to kickstart your writing.
Do something that diverts from your daily routine. You might not have noticed, but you have probably already fallen into a mundane pattern. Veering away from it can expose you to things that will get your creativity flowing. A crazy, spontaneous, and fun activity may be the muse you’re looking for.
That’s it. Five time-tested tips to get your creative juices flowing. I’m not saying these work for everyone. However, these can help, especially when stuck in your writing process.