When You’re Stuck For Words
Exercises to get unstuck
When you’re stuck for words and have absolutely nothing of importance to write, write anyway.
Writer’s block is one of those things that you just have to push through when you know you’re not tired, you’re not hungry and when you’re feeling uninspired. It’s like that annoying clog in the sink and the act of writing is your plunger.
When you’re stuck for words, put your fingers to your keyboard and just start typing. Even if it’s just a series of incomprehensible words — just type. Don’t delete. Don’t look back. Just keep moving forward.
Your brain is doing a fart and all the air needs to be let out. Don’t hold it. Let it flow. Eventually something comprehensible will emerge — sometimes in poetry form.
When you’re stuck for words, don’t make excuses and do something else. That’s called procrastination. If you want to be a writer, you kinda have to write. You need to build up your writing muscle.
Don’t wait for inspiration to strike. You need to practice your craft, hone your skills and know your words. Your muses will not take pity on your weak skills. You need to practice and writing is your gym.
When you’re stuck for words, go and write your story — that’s someone you certainly know. If not, this is your chance to meet yourself as digital ink. Begin your unofficial biography. Document your experiences.
If have nothing worthy to write about yourself, write about the boring bits about you — your habits, the way you brush your teeth — something strange and quirky will probably come out of it. The mundane is known to inspire the best ideas in writers.
When you’re stuck for words and have absolutely nothing to write, get some sleep. Because many of us trade Netflix for a solid block of shut eyes. You’re stuck because you’re tired, not because you’re feeling uninspired.
Well, actually, you’re uninspired because you’re tired.
Go to bed.
When you’re stuck for words, check your drafts, revisit your old ideas. If you don’t have any, then this is your chance to create a backlog. It’s one way to get your subconscious mind working on something spectacular.
Write some headlines.
When you’re stuck for words, write what you see. Tell another person about it’s history — how you got it, why you got it, the journey you took to get it. It doesn’t have to be amazing.
If you’ve still got nothing to write, pick a different object. At some point, you’ll find something that gets you writing.
When you’re stuck for words, rewrite the words of someone else. Don’t copy word for word. That’s plagiarism. Write from your memories. Put your own spin on it. Reword. Repackage. Redo and infuse it with your own personal opinion and experiences.
The world is a kaleidoscope of the same things over and over again — arranged differently to create something unique.
When you’re stuck for words, quit something in your life. Quit coffee. Quit social media. Quit an addictive substance. Spice up your life with a new habit. Kick start it off by writing about the why.
Proceed with the resolution and document the experience — your failures, your successes and your newfound appreciation for life.
When you’re stuck for words, find a quote and decode its meaning. Great quotes are snippets of human qualities, of moments in time, of learning summed up in a few words.
There is finality in a good quote but sometimes, it’s better to deconstruct and analyse. You might learn something new. You might get inspired. You might even end up with the first draft of something.
When you’re stuck for words, rewrite something you’ve written before. Re-examine your biases, your prejudices, your assumptions, your privileges, your everything. Deconstruct your own thoughts and rewrite it from a different perspective.
You might learn something new about the topic and yourself.
When you’re stuck for words, teach something. Teach an invisible student how to write, the rules of grammar, how to make your favorite meal, the importance of water, of food, of whatever random subject or topic jumps into mind.
It doesn’t matter what it is you’re teaching — just teach something.
When you’re stuck for words, write a list. Pick a topic and write a list for it. Write your top 10 recommendations, your top 10 favorites, your top whatever must haves, must use, must anything that’s vital for your existence as a person.
Write a list and then expand on it.
When you’re stuck for words, write a story. It doesn’t have to be good. You just need to start writing so make up a character and send it on a quest. Don’t make it complicated. Just keep it simple and make it stupid. Triviality can get the brain churning. Complicated stories sometimes makes the writing exercise worst because you’re too hung up on the details. You’re not writing a novel.
Start with once upon a time if you must.
And lastly, if you’re still stuck for words, scroll back up to the top and start doing the first exercise. You’re procrastinating. You’re telling yourself it’s too hard. You’re trying to get out from the act of writing.
If you want to be a writer, you’ll need to push through the wordless days. No one can do it for you except you. Exercises make you stronger and fitter than how you were yesterday. This is the equivalent of leg day. So do the leg work and write something, even if you’re stuck for words.