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Why Writer’s Block Can Be The Push You Need

We’ve all been there before. Sitting in front of a blank page, desperately trying to get words down and feeling like we’re crawling through molasses to make any progress. 

Writer’s block. My worst nightmare.

No matter when or where it hits, it can seriously mess up your flow. Especially when you’re trying to write for fun and every sentence has to be pulled out inch by inch. It’s always painful, and it always hits when I’m actually looking forward to writing something.

But not to fear. Writer’s block isn’t quite as bad as it might seem on the surface. Personally, I’ve been using it as an excuse to write some pretty cool stuff.

When the block hits, take a deep breath. You won’t get anywhere by forcing it. Instead, drink some water, walk around a bit, and come back to try something new. Seriously, open a new tab and ignore whatever you’ve been trying to do beforehand. 

writing in journal on desk
Photo by NeONBRAND from Unsplash

With that brand new tab, I want you to play a game. And while playing, give yourself the permission to write badly. This game isn’t about creating something publishable, or even shareable. It’s about writing

Look around yourself and write down five things you can see. In as much detail as you can, describe the sights in all their glory. Then, write four things you can hear. Whether it’s the buzzing of a computer or your fridge’s ice machine, all noise is good noise.

Done? Three things you can touch. Your shirt, your desk, your keyboard, whatever. It’s all fair game. Now two things you can smell. Perfume from your roommate or your cat’s litter box – it all works.

Final step? Pick a writing prompt. I like to use this list of 500 Writing Prompts to get my creative juices flowing. Choose one and write something. Make it terrible. Make it cringy to read back over. Give yourself total freedom to write whatever works and pour it all out until there is nothing left to say.

And then close your laptop or put down your pen and walk away. No editing, no revising, nothing.

This exercise gave you an excuse to write badly and know that it does not matter. I’ve used it many times, especially when I’m not sure where a plot point should go, and I’ve already spent hours agonizing over a few simple sentences.

Friends Excited

You wrote something and survived!

Repeat as many times as needed until you feel ready to get back to your project. And who knows? Maybe whatever prompt you pick will be the catalysis for your next great work.

Elizabeth began writing for HerCampus in Spring 2021 and is currently a Sophomore Political Science major at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Outside of HerCampus, Elizabeth is a member of the Delta Mu Chapter of Alpha Chi Omega and an intern with MASSPIRG. She is interested in foreign policy and the world at large.
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