How to Overcome Writer's Block and Get Back to Creativity
By Andrea Stacy
I don’t know about you, but writer’s block is something that makes the creative side of my brain tremble in its boots. Most creatives I’ve talked to experience the moment of total mind-numbness when ideas just don’t happen. Or perhaps even worse, all ideas that do
pop-up are miserable. This semester I am taking a copywriting class and let me tell you, brain blockage has reared its ugly horns as I complete nearly every assignment. In these moments, I question if I should just give up on copywriting all together. Have I been living in self-denial my whole life? Do I have an ounce of creativity in my tired, frustrated brain? Should I switch my major to accounting?
But there’s good news, both for the accounting world and my measly self-esteem, it turns out that many others also experience this and have some tips and tricks to offer to those of us who are just starting out in the field.
The first nugget of advice comes from Tom Kates, a copywriter at Cramer-Krasselt. I asked Tom how he deals with major brain blockage, especially when working under a tight deadline. His advice is to just write everything down, even the really bad stuff. Tom explained that at least then you’re getting the crappy ideas out of your head and down on paper. And when you refuse to stop writing, something at least moderately good is bound to flow out of your pen.
The other day I was checking out some Ted Talks and another piece of advice crossed my path. Learning scientist Marily Oppezzo explained how walking can greatly improve creativity, especially when brainstorming. During her study, she found that people who walked on a treadmill during a brainstorming activity had twice the creative ideas as those who sat still during the same activity. Check out her five minute Ted Talk and learn more tips about how to incorporate physical activity into the creative process!
The final trick I want to share involves something that I’ve always thought I was supposed to avoid: social writing. Rowena Murray wrote in The Guardian that writing with other people in the room and sharing writing goals, struggles and achievements helps us understand writing better. She goes on to explain that social writing helps bring together work and life. Writing no longer has to be something that you must do in solitude but instead it can become an interesting discussion with a family member or friend. The best part in my opinion is that social writing has been found to reduce the biggest producer of writer’s block: anxiety.
I hope one or all these practices help you next time you’re hitting the wall (literally, with your noggin). If you have any other pieces of advice that have worked for you, please comment below! Thanks for reading and happy writing trails!