How many times have you experienced Writer’s Block just before a deadline? I hate to admit, this has happened more than often to me. No matter how much I tried to rack my brain towards writing a single sentence, it wouldn’t work. Almost as if the writing gods had sent a curse down on me where I couldn’t think of anything except how blank my computer screen looked. But I’m not the only one who’s been through this, a lot of friends have complained about intellectual brain freeze right before an important project. The best part about this uncomfortable experience is that I finally managed to pick up a few tricks that helped me cope up with this kind of a situation.
Before we jump around this topic anymore, let’s ask ourselves: What is Writer’s Block? I like describing it as the void and dark place inside the writer’s mind where not a word, language or experience exists. This is obviously an exaggerated description on my part! I think writer’s block is the temporary inability to write creatively. But for a more in-depth understanding of it you could look through this particular link. It talks about the historical mention of writer’s block and the possible counter-argument that it’s just a figment of imagination and does not exist.
Now that we’ve got the definition out of the way, let’s move onto tactics on how to deal with it especially when there’s a monstrous deadline ahead.
Your deadline is NOT the deadline
You shouldn’t let the deadline dictate your writing process. By that I mean, start working way ahead of it and don’t leave it for the night before. You’re only going to end up stressed, frustrated and won’t be able to focus properly on creating a good piece.
Don’t delay writing, instead keep an ‘earlier’ deadline and work your way towards it. I usually redefine my deadlines to a week or few days earlier, so I can finish the work faster and with more motivation. It also gives me more time to review the articles and lots of spare moments for editing. If you’re a lazy person who procrastinates a lot, then I’d suggest you ALWAYS redefine your deadlines to an ‘earlier’ time so that you could climb your way towards finishing work faster. But be careful, many people get carried away in finishing towards the earlier deadline and forget about the quality of work. When you have writer’s block, writing anything can feel like a rigorous task, but sticking to the ‘earlier’ rather than ‘original’ deadline has given me more time to edit and rearrange any jumbled or unclear words/sentences before submission.
This helps me deal with writer’s block because I don’t feel too stressed knowing that I’m ahead of the deadline. Writer’s block can be a struggle because it could take twice the amount of time to think, be creative and write. However redefining my deadlines certainly pushes me towards thinking faster and working harder. In the end it works out because I have a few extra days left to edit, rearrange and create newer drafts. My thoughts resonate with the first point in this article to overcome writer’s block even though this is strangely enough about pro-audio files!
Brainstorm instead of Brain Freeze
Don’t let the wintery feels in your head get to your hands! This means your mind might not be working before a deadline, but doesn’t mean your hands can’t struggle to make a few notes. Even if you’re not in the mode of creative prodigy child, you could certainly grab a few flimsy ideas hanging in the corner of your mind or online. Either way works!
If you can’t seem to join words and make sentences, then there’s no need to force yourself into it. Instead you could focus on collecting ideas, images, quotes and inspirations for your article/blog-post deadline. A lot of my friends have suggested post-it notes and they jot down websites, ideas, and thoughts on to them before writing. Put your brain freeze to use and use this time to collect data for the final written piece. This will eventually spark enough creative energy and get the writing going within a few hours or days. So hang in there and don’t lose hope.
Ah! Here we go, this is one of the most important one for writers. Especially, for those writers who fear an upcoming deadline. There’s no escape from this piece of advice. Writers need to incorporate a routine in their life where a particular timeframe is dedicated only to writing and nothing else. This means you could think about what to write, jot down ideas about it, read other relevant articles and also write. This portion of the day or week needs to be a ritual for you where you only focus on anything related to writing.
This makes the creative process much more focused and at least gets some work done. Writer’s block may happen now and again but if you have a routine, you could avoid the anxiety that comes with deadlines because you’re already working bit by bit which in turn will make you feel productive. Writer’s block usually sends many writers into bouts of depression, laziness and zero ideas. This can all be avoided if you dedicate a portion of time away from house chores, meetings and only tend to writing and ideas related to it. Just remember that writing is a process that takes time, effort and polishing of skills.
Don’t stop reading!
Like it wasn’t depressing enough that you can’t write a word before the deadline, if you won’t read you’re basically causing creative suicide. Don’t kill your brain, do it a favor and stick to reading for the rest of your life. Even if you have writer’s block and you keep reading things, the chances are you will have lots of words and ideas in your head even during the toughest of times. These saved up words and ideas will come to your rescue even during writer’s block. So keep following those blogs and websites, and instead of wasting time and moping on the couch about a brain freeze, get up and read.
In conclusion, these few coping techniques have helped me a lot. They’ve been a life saver during my college years and still work for me in professional life. How do you deal with writer’s block before deadlines? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.