Feeling stuck? There’s nothing more intimidating than staring at a blank page (or screen) and realizing that you’re up against a solid case of writer’s block. Even a temporary absence of the writer’s muse can leave the most accomplished writer feeling less-than-capable, and suck the joy out of an otherwise fulfilling exercise. But there’s hope for all who have battled writer’s block before – put these five writing productivity tips into practice, and you’ll have your muse on-call and waiting for you, rather than the other way around.
Tip #1 – Keep A Tangent Journal As You Write
Just as conversations often branch off into unrelated tangents, whatever you’re writing about now can be the catalyst for many other things you may write about later. However, like shopping list items and people’s phone numbers, you know how easy it is to forget them after even a short time has passed. Don’t risk having your best ideas become nothing more than faded memories – keep a “tangent journal” with you as you write and jot down incoming ideas. Capture just enough detail that you can use them later when you need a great writing prompt, and you’ll give yourself a great resource without breaking your current writing flow.
Tip #2 – Write, Then Brainstorm
After you’ve successfully hammered out your quota of words for the day, don’t let all that mental momentum go to waste. Take 5 minutes to brainstorm what you could write about next while the gears in your head are still turning. Since you’re already in a writing state of mind, you may find it easier to generate upcoming ideas than if you pushed yourself from a “cold start” tomorrow. And as a bonus, having tomorrow’s topic in mind today gives your brain time to simmer up great ideas in the background so you’ll start tomorrow off strong.
Tip #3 – Find Someone To Give You A Jump-Start
Sometimes you’ll find yourself absolutely brain-locked, unable to even begin thinking about what to write. When you can’t even crank up your creative centers, take a shortcut and let someone else’s way with words get you started. Find a selection of writing you like and copy it down word for word, writing or typing your way through a few paragraphs (or pages, if you’re really stuck). Even though you’re not writing something original, the physical act of putting words down will soon prime your brain to get back in the writing groove.
Tip #4 – Condition Yourself For Creativity
Sometimes a simple pre-writing routine can help you get anchored into a creative state of mind – all you have to do is pick a specific action and do it every time your creative juices are flowing. For example, if you brew a pot of your favorite coffee every time you sit down to write, you can condition yourself to link the smell of that coffee to “writing time.” Do this enough, and you may find that performing this little “ritual” helps you get into gear automatically, even when you’re feeling stuck.
Tip #5 – Show Up On Time, Every Time
Many an established writer will agree that showing up consistently – whether you have something to write about or not – can be the best writing productivity tip of them all. Making an appointment with yourself to sit in front of your keyboard (or blank page) every day at the same time, no matter what, is bound to help you become a better writer in the long run. Consistently showing up will also make it easier to schedule the rest of your life around your block of writing time, giving you one less thing to distract you when it’s time to get the words out of your head and into your reader’s hands.
Your Turn: Tell Us Your Top Writing Productivity Tip For Keeping Your Muse On Tap
If you’ve been writing for a while, you undoubtedly have a few tricks up your sleeve for making it easier to write high-quality stuff without all the hand-wringing. Don’t keep them to yourself – take a moment right now to share your favorite tips in the comments below, and make your muse happy. 🙂