It happens to everyone: the dreaded moment when your brain can’t conjure up any idea, word or syllable to accomplish a piece of work. There can be many reasons for it; the top four being timing, fear and stress or trying to get it perfect to the point your brain freezes. It’s inevitable in any field you work in, so here are eight tips on how to maneuver your way around the latest writer’s/worker’s block:
1. Change environments
Change up where you work every now and then. Your new surroundings can spark up different observations or just fuel your mind to think in a new way. The variations in your locations allow you to see new people, places and objects – such as decorations, street signs or a torn up movie ticket on the ground. Anything can spark a thought. For some people, straying from a routine might bring new life into the way they’ve been thinking – maybe acknowledging that there is more out there than the daily doings. For others, a routine might be exactly what they need to control the times that their brain works best. Test out what works best for you and then see where life can take you from there.
Grab a pen and paper, or open up Google Docs or Word, and jot down your thoughts randomly. They don’t have to be about what you’re trying to work on — just write them down as they come. Maybe something on that paper or document may be the missing piece needed to get your thought process chugging again. This allows your creative juices to flow without any pressure. If you’re experiencing a writer’s block, these notes might just show you something you’re passionate about enough to create a whole piece on it. That can go for anything, actually. Find your passions again, and run with them.
This can be more structured. Think about what it is you are trying to write about or trying to complete. Write down all that you know about it so far. What are the goals you are trying to reach? A goal can be as simple as, “I want to write a paragraph today.” Ask what details, no matter how small, make up the task. For example, the presentation trying to be made needs to be at least 10 minutes and requires an activity. If you have a foundation set and visualized in front of you, it could be easier to get ideas flowing. Some brainstorming methods include mind maps, lists, bullet points, sticky note layout, starbursting, etc.
4. Listen to music
Listen to a new soundtrack to spark some inspiration. Try a mix of genres, too. The lyrics, tone, beat or overall vibe can bring something to mind that could aid in your creative process. Music is a staple in many people’s lives, and it can heavily influence what to think about or feel at the given time of the song. Give new music or listening to music at a different time than normal a try.
5. Read a book, magazine, news, articles, etc.
Read other words from other humans. Their messages or images can help fuel your internal motivation or help inspire an idea. The work you read can be a general topic, one that interests you, and/or one that applies to what it is you’re working on. Maybe read up and research further the topic or assignment you are trying to tackle.
6. Spend time with others
Use good conversation and new memories as inspiration. Everyone you talk to has something to add to your life, and it may just be what you need at the moment. Also, socializing may enhance your brain functioning and enable a new perspective of yours. It can also provide you a break to allow your mind to rest up and come back to the task refreshed.
7. Talk it out
Whether it is to just yourself, or someone else is listening, work through what’s in your mind verbally. It may prove quite beneficial to try and explain it out loud, and maybe it’ll clear your mind or create connections to thoughts you didn’t even know you had. It can really clear up your own thoughts. If you’re talking to someone else about it, they could provide questions or advice to help move along your thought process.
8. Go for a little, or long, journey Go for a walk, a drive, a bike, train or bus ride; use that time to observe your surroundings, others, yourself, life. That is precious time to think and just be. Your brain can still be active, but it’s not on overdrive. This time can also be a good time for music, reading, talking, etc.
There is more to life than the assignment you are working on, so use it to help do the best you can. Don’t overwork yourself or stress yourself out; your brain and body are doing its best and keeping you moving; take care of them. You are doing the best you can, so don’t be too hard on yourself during this frustrating time. Just write, make, or put down everything. You can’t get anywhere without a start.