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Six tips for stagnated writers

In every writer’s life, there are times when words seem to be meaningless, and inspiration is a hard thing to find. Times of stagnation are dreaded, although inevitable.

If you’re dealing with the lack of confidence writer’s block entails, don’t lose yourself in this new state of mind. It won’t last forever, I promise. And instead of waiting for it to pass, take the matter into your own eager-to-write-hands and fight it bravely. Here are six tips to get out of stagnation in no time.

Take a break

A writing career is not just milk and honey. That image of the cheerful writer, putting down words at a mind-boggling speed, with the warm cup of coffee to work as inspiration, is somehow distorted. Almost nobody talks about stagnation. No one wants to know that writers are not super human. Dark periods exist, and they can occur even to the best of writers. How can you recognize a block so you can avoid it? Here are some symptoms:

• You are out of focus.

• You’re experiencing problems in finding the right words. You can sometimes spend hours trying to find the right vocabulary.

• You feel like the sentences you’re writing are meaningless.

• You rewrite more than usual.

Now that you know for sure that something is wrong, the first thing to do is to avoid the temptation to keep writing. Take a break. Get out of the room, leave your project for a couple of minutes, hours or even days, depending on the deadline. For instance, if you’re trying to create the perfect speech, a break is more than recommended, especially if you’re not a professional speechwriter. A short pause will help you clear your head so you can give your best later.

Take care of your body, too

When you’re busy writing, you might ignore your body signals and focus on what your mind needs. However, sitting on a chair for hours might cause back aches, not to mention that your body gets tired, too. Did you know that running, for instance, helps new nerve cells to grow? Which is exactly what you need to become more creative and inspired each day. So instead of torturing yourself to come up with a new sentence, which is not working anyway, go out for a run.

Read something

Getting out of the spider web’s trap is not as hard as it seems. Instead of writing paragraphs that will eventually end up in the trash, lose yourself in another story. Open a book that inspired you at some point, or, even better, surprise yourself by reading some lines from a new one. It will help you look at your own writing from a different perspective, and you might even find the inspiration you lack.

Take a nap

One of the most common causes of writer’s stagnation is fatigue. Sleepless nights have taken their toll, and it’s time to get some rest. Your brain will reboot, and you’ll wake up fresh, with new ideas.

Engage in something else

Do something creative, other than writing. For instance, you could start a painting or sketch a page of your adult coloring book. If you fancy cooking, try a recipe you’ve never tried before, just to engage in something creative that appeals to you.

Write something else

Sometimes this trick won’t work, especially when you have a deadline that’s putting so much pressure on you. But it’s a way to regain momentum. You could try taking notes about a usual occurrence or write an enjoyable story — something that has nothing to do with the topic of your project.

Whenever you feel the urge to give up, just try one these tips. It doesn’t always have to work. Sometimes all methods will fail, but you can still come up with your own way to overcome stagnation. What’s your magical habit?

— Christina Battons

Christina Battons is a web content writer and blogger from Los Angeles who writes for various blogs, such as Pro Writers Center. She graduated from the University of Southern California. You can connect with her through Twitter or Facebook.

Reflections of Erma