Writer’s block–we’ve all been there. For those writing for fun, writer’s block may just mean you have to wait for inspiration. But for those who are writing with a deadline, it can be a real problem. Writer’s block is defined as the condition of being unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing. It’s when you look at the page and your mind is blank; you cannot think of something to say. Almost everyone has experienced writer’s block when trying to put words on paper.
It seems simple enough to claim that you have writer’s block when you are stuck, but there is actually complicated science behind it. Researchers at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) have found parallels between the neuroscience of the brain and difficulty writing. Creativity and the ability to write with ease are enabled primarily by action in the frontal lobe of the brain. If this part of the brain is not processing as fluidly as it could be, it can cause writer’s block.
Sometimes trying too hard to force words out can hinder a writer further. In order to help yourself get out of the rut that is writer’s block, there are several things you can do.
- Get up and move. Physical activity often helps with mental activity. Sometimes a change of scenery or taking your mind off the topic can help you think of new ideas and refocus when you return to write.
- Relax and destress. Stress hinders creativity and cognitive thinking.
- Jot down ideas when they come to you. Many people have great ideas for writing at night or at spontaneous times throughout the day. Take down the ideas in the moment so you can use them when you sit down to write.
- Do not worry about having a perfect draft. It is easy to get hung up if you are so focused on perfecting every sentence the first time working on a draft.
- Brainstorm. Organizing your thoughts or letting your mind wander onto the paper makes it easier for yourself when you decide to begin writing.