Overcoming Writer’s/Worker’s Block

Staring at a screen.

Looking at an overly full inbox.

That project that hasn’t gotten off the ground, and you know you need to start it.

In the writing world it’s called writer’s block, but it affects other professions, so it could just be called worker’s block. Even for students, who need to complete an assignment, you could call it student’s block.

And whether or not you write for a living, writing an email, creating a presentation, or getting started on a project in any field is a pretty common activity…

...One which might come to a grinding halt.

Take a tip from writers who have overcome it, and try these methods for overcoming writer’s/worker’s/student’s/anyone’s block.

Get Moving

There’s something about office work, particularly on a computer, that is more likely to lead to this sort of brain freeze.

A ditch digger doesn’t exactly get “digger’s block.”

That’s because in some fields you are moving and doing, which doesn’t require you to tax your mental faculties and create somethings out of nothings. But in the creative fields, in particular, that mental work can lead to a mental blockade.

So first, cut yourself a little slack and acknowledge all the things that you do get done, or have done.

Then, take a page from the ditch-digger’s book and do something:

Exercise - A walk, a run, a bike ride, or some other kind of outdoor excursion may have the best effect. Exercise is a natural brain-booster, to get those gears turning again.

Clean something - Break up your sitting still with office dusting, house cleaning, or other organization and get your gears turning again.

Switch gears - If you are having trouble completing the thing (some task or assignment), break it up by doing something else, such as free writing, making a list of tasks, or getting something (anything) done...it could as easy as filing papers, just do something.

Include some physical movement and get the gears turning again.

Read All About It

For writers, in particular, a great cure for a stop on the outflow is inflow--a reading break. Reading a magazine or book can get someone unstuck and moving again.

In other line’s of work, a similar approach may work.

Change the tide and read about what you are doing, and how something similar has been done before. (Just set a time limit, so that you don’t waste the day on the internet.)

Give and Take Help

Another way to change the tide on a dammed up thinker is to help someone else.

Assisting another with their writing, helping a coworker with a task, that sort of thing.

While you’re at it, ask for help:

Get collaborative - Run your ideas by a coworker.

Get imaginative - Try a brainstorming session with friends, even if they work in another field.

Stay positive - Consulting an internet forum (such as Reddit) or asking Debbie Downer for an opinion will generally backfire...so stick to the assistance and input of those who truly want to help you (without overpowering your ideas).

Though certain types of work (like writing) can be inherently a solo activity, getting towed out of a rut may involve another’s truck.

Get Organized

People find “inspiration” in different exterior forms...through natural beauty like a forest or the ocean, through the hub of activity of a metropolis, or through the aesthetics of a cathedral, to name just a few.

If you can get to one of those spaces (see “Get Moving”) above, fine...but also consider making your space a little more inspirational.

Organize your desk with acrylic desk accessories. Hang up a picture of your favorite inspiration.

Create inspiration and get moving again, right where you are!

How have you gotten going again after grinding to a stop? Comment below and share your ideas!