So you’re stuck in a funk and you don’t know how to get out.
Well you’ve come to the right place.
I used to get stuck a lot.
Truth is, I still do sometimes.
But it’s my job to write content. I can’t afford to get stuck.
So here’s what I do instead.
Take a break
I know, I know. You’ve got a deadline.
But staring at the blank page isn’t getting you anywhere, so what difference does taking a break make?
Get away from your computer and go do something completely unrelated to what you’re writing.
If you can go and spend time with a friend for a while, do it. They’re the perfect distraction.
If that’s not an option, see if there’s someone you can chat to on the phone for a bit.
Just don’t take a break from writing by spending time on social media, emailing, or texting. While you’re not writing the piece you’re stuck on, these things still count as writing. When you do these for ‘a break’, you’re not actually giving your brain a break.
Other things you could do during your break:
- Take the dog a walk somewhere pretty
- If you don’t have a dog, just go for a walk somewhere pretty like the park
- Treat yourself to something nice, whether it’s a new item of clothing, some new skincare, or a new DVD
- Pamper yourself—get your haircut, get a manicure, whatever rocks your boat
Have a power nap
This one only really works if you work from home, but never underestimate the effectiveness of a power nap.Never underestimate the effectiveness of a power nap. Click To Tweet
The key is to make sure you don’t fall asleep for longer than half an hour. If you do, you’ll wake up feeling even worse than you did before you fell asleep.
On the other hand, if you have a caffeinated drink before you fall asleep, you’ll wake up feeling even better! That’s because caffeine takes 15-20 minutes to get into our system: the optimum time for a power nap. You’ll therefore just be waking up as the caffeine kicks in. Perfect!
Drown out the background noise
If you’re in a busy or noisy location, concentrating can be difficult. Even if you work from home, it can still be noisy. Children, neighbours gardening, roadworks down the street, or even just cars going past can all be noisy, unwelcome distractions when you need to concentrate.
Put some headphones on and listen to some music or put on some sound effects.
Get a change of scenery
A change of scenery can work wonders for helping you to get out of a funk.
That’s because it’s easy for our brain to fall into certain habits and patterns. It wants to do as little work as possible.
But when you put it somewhere new, it springs back into life. It sees things differently. And therefore so do you.
Sometimes all it takes is for you to open the same document in a different room of your house to see your piece completely differently.Sometimes all it takes is for you to open the same document in a different room to see it… Click To Tweet
Switch to pen and paper
Some people suggest that writing ideas down by hand can be more effective than typing them out first.
While I don’t do this often—my handwriting is appalling and I can type considerably faster than I can write—there are times when I’ve found writing by hand has helped me to work through issues I’ve had on projects. I’ve found ways to fix everything from blog posts to books just from switching from my laptop to a notebook. And really, so long as you know what it says, that’s all that matters, right?
Play a game
Gaming is one of my favourite ways to relax. I’m terrible at it, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is that it makes me smile.
I love reading, and that helps me to relax too, but there’s always a voice in my head analysing what I read no matter what it is that I’m reading.
That’s why gaming is a good break for me. I focus on nothing but the puzzle in front of me.
Any type of game will do. I’m a big fan of puzzle games, but violent games have actually been found to reduce stress and make people less angry, rather than increase it like many people assume. Being surrounded by gamers who favour so-called violent games, I have to say, they’re some of the most laid-back people I know!
Be sure to have a cut-off point though, especially if you have a looming deadline! You don’t want to suddenly look at the clock and realise there’s only an hour until your deadline!
Talk to someone
This ties in with my earlier point about taking a break, but this time, I want you to talk to someone about the issue you’re stuck with.
I do this often when I have problems with my book. Sometimes just talking at someone about what I’m stuck on helps me to fix all sorts of problems. Even if the person you’re talking to doesn’t know how to help you, having someone who’ll listen can be enough to trigger something within you.
Work on a different project for a while
A little perspective goes a long way, but that perspective only comes with time.
That’s why it really helps to separate yourself after you’ve worked on a first draft of something. Even if it’s only for a couple of days, you’ll see things vastly differently than you did when you wrote the piece in question. You’ll pick up on more issues, and you’ll find that sections you hated aren’t as terrible as you thought.
Don’t be so hard on yourself
The more pressure you put on yourself, the harder it is to achieve anything.The more pressure you put on yourself, the harder it is to achieve anything. Click To Tweet
A little stress can help to push us towards our goals faster, but there’s a tipping point where that stress becomes suffocating.
That tipping point is different for everyone.
You’ll know what yours is when you hit it.
Be kind to yourself, and know that not everything you write will be perfect.
All you can do is write the best that you can at that moment in time.
The next thing you write will be even better.
It’s a continuous, never-ending journey.
Over to You
What do you do to get yourself out of a writing funk? Share your tips in the comments below and help other writers too!