Rita Lopes

being blocked and what can be done about it

Ok, so, occasionally it is hard to come up with something to write about. If we thought of ourselves as writers when that happens we’d probably be calling it writers block, but because most of us don’t see ourselves under that light we normally stick to the more common I don’t know what to write about, I have nothing useful to say, or I’m not in the mood to write.

I don’t know what to write about

However we may call it we know it’s tough and we just want to get out of it, we want it to be done and over with. This means, often, we spend more time consuming ourselves with pointless worrying rather than doing something else that will help us get through it and come out victorious on the other side.

please, please, let me just get over this block

Something else that spills from the above is that being blocked as “not knowing what to write about” or “not being in the mood” is more affected by our mindset than by what words we actually write down. You’ll find many sources online with tips and tricks about how to overcome such a situation, but I’ll save you the trouble and share a few of the most common ones:

  • Go for a walk
  • Or take a break; relax, breathe, and do something else for a little bit
  • Play (LEGO time!)
  • Brainstorm ideas—you can do this alone
  • Call an old friend
  • Brew some coffee (or tea)
  • Listen to music
  • Freewrite
  • Read a book
  • Change your environment
  • Write about whatever comes to mind, *anything*, but do it
  • Use prompts (you can ask someone to give you one) and then just roll with it
  • Ask (write down) questions about the topic at hand—you can worry about the answers afterwards
  • Something I’d never heard before, but eh, it proves possibilities are endless: the glass-of-water technique

keep moving is the answer

Crucially, you may notice that none of the options resembles “doing nothing” in any way! Yep, you need to keep moving! Don’t just stare at walls, that won’t work. Inspiration is something you work for, not something that occasionally gifts your brain with a random visit. You can probably think about a person of two in your life whom you consider an inspiration—they are never the ones that camp out on their sofas for their entire lives.

my personal favourites

I’ll have to admit that writing about not knowing what to write about worked pretty well for me, this time! 🙂 But we broaden the scope of “being blocked” on something creative (yes, creative problem solving qualifies, too) then we’ve all been through this and it’s not really just about writing.

Keeping things simple is always a winner for me and it’s always the first thing I encourage people to consider, so I normally start by taking a break which may or may not including spending a bit of time focused on something else, and it’s also something I encourage others to do when they’re struggling for inspiration themselves.

Finally and ultimately, let go of your own (self)judgement—chances are this is your main obstacle. You’re probably being too judge-y of yourself. Thinking that “you can’t possibly have anything to add on the topic” or even that “what you wrote isn’t interesting enough”. That may be what you’re thinking but… how much content do you see on a daily basis about which you couldn’t care less about? Does that mean no one else cares about it? Nope. It also doesn’t mean that because something you read wasn’t technically advanced enough for your current knowledge it won’t be *exactly* what someone else may be looking for. Ditch your highly skewed self-damaging judgements and you’ll be closer to finding an answer to whatever question you’re trying to answer.

up next

This whole process I went through inspired me (!) to write something else on how to find ideas for things, for example, for something to write about so I shall write on that soon and, perhaps, also on what limiting beliefs are, what they mean and how to get rid of them 🙂 If there’s a particular topic that interests you, why not ask for it? I’ll be happy to!

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