8 Ways to Move Past Writer's Block

Professional writers, those who actually produce words for a living, are in the unique position of actually having to be creative on demand. If you want to buy groceries this week, there is no possibility of sitting around waiting for your muse to strike before putting words on the screen. And while most of us laugh at the occasional bad day of writer's block, it can get more serious if persistent.

If a writer wants to get paid, he has to write. Unfortunately, even the most doggedly determined of writers will have days during which the words just will not come out.

On top of the frustration of forming the rights words for your thoughts, sometimes journalists and other business writers are forced to consume their mind with a particular writing subject that becomes tedious. Writer's block can be frustrating, but there are ways to work around it to get the words flowing again.

Writer's block can be frustrating, but there are ways to work around it to get the words flowing again.

1. Block out Distractions

Your problems with finding the right words may be related to distractions in your environment. If children are crying or neighbors are fighting, you might not be able to concentrate enough to get any work done. Take away those auditory distractions by investing in a pair of headphones or earbuds. Plug them into your computer or music player and play some background sounds to drown out the unpleasant noise. Put on your favorite music if you can write while hearing songs, or find one of the many sites online that offer free nature sounds to cover up the noisy kids with thunderstorms or breaking waves.

2. Work Elsewhere

Your writer's block may be related to a simple case of boredom. Change your writing spot once or twice a week to give yourself a change of pace. This may be enough to spark some new creativity. If you have a laptop or netbook, look into all the places in your neighborhood with free Wifi. Work in a coffee shop one day and a neighborhood bar the next. If you only have a desktop computer, investigate your local library. Most of them have computers on loan for patrons. The simple fact that you have a time limit might get your mind racing.

3. Move Your Body

Exercise gets your body moving, clears your head and gives you energy. If you're spending all day from morning until night working at the keyboard, you need to shake things up a bit. Set an alarm for every two hours and get up to do some sort of exercise. Run up and down the stairs, dance to three songs or take the dog for a walk around the block.

4. Fix Your Environment

Look at the desk and the area around it. If it isn't in good enough shape to photograph and post online right now, you may be working in a cluttered environment. A clean and pleasant work environment aids the mind in working more effectively. Start by emptying off the top of your desk. Put your computer back on it, a mousepad, perhaps a pencil cup and pad of paper for notes and one coaster. Add no more than three quirky personal items. Hang a dry erase board on the wall above the desk, or make an idea board to post for brainstorming sessions. The cleaner environment will spark creativity in your writing.

5. Take Your Vitamins

A good many writers are too busy and focused to eat a healthy and balanced diet. Sandwiches at the keyboard are often the norm, and sit-down meals with the family a special occasion. If you don't have time to change your entire culinary lifestyle, at least make sure you take an extra-strength multi vitamin each day. Choose a formula designed for energy, with vegetable extracts and extra iron. What feels like lack of energy or creativity can often be a mask for a missing mineral in the diet.

6. Switch Subjects

Sometimes writer's block hits because you're simply bored to tears with the subject matter. If you're working on the ninth insurance article of the day or you've spent a week writing about dyeing yarn, your mind may simply be on strike. Switch it up and provide your brain with some relief. Work on another project for half an hour before getting back to the one in question. If you don't have another project in the works, outline a book idea or write down concepts for future articles.

7. Write Garbage

Many writers use freewriting as a way to loosen up words stuck in their heads. At least one writer calls it "Permission to write garbage." If you're stuck for something to write, you may be too concerned about writing the correct words and phrases. Forget all about that. Put your hands on the keyboard and bang out any words that come to mind for ten minutes straight. If you fill a page, just keep going. It doesn't have to pertain to your current writing topic, but it can if you like. The simple act of getting *something* on the page will often loosen your mind and allow you to move on to better writing.

8. Take Time Off

If you're getting close to being burnt out, your mind will often shut down and refuse to produce any more useful words. This is its way of telling you that you need to take a break. Listen to your body and mind, no matter what deadlines approach. Fixing this problem is paramount. Take half a day off, or even an entire day. Don't go near the computer. Do crafts, spend time with friends and stay away from the printed word. You'll often come back strong with a fresh start.

Writer's block will always be an annoyance to those seeking to produce good content on paper. Writing is an art that is stifled under the pressure of constant demands, but these tips will hopefully have a calming and organizing effect that relieves the pressure and makes great writing possible again.

Mac Hildebrand is a freelance writer who contributes articles on web marketing and design. He resides in Tampa where he enjoys swimming and fishing and writes articles about getting affordable car insurance online.