Lost for words? Whether it’s a business proposal, blog post, or university essay, most people will have to write something at one time or another, if not on a daily basis. So, we all know the frustration of staring at a blank page, particularly when you’ve got a deadline to meet.
Writer’s block is described as the lost ability to produce new work and the experience of a creative slowdown. But, why does it happen? Frequent causes of writer’s block include a lack of structure, stress, perfectionism and selective thinking. It’s important to remember that writer’s block exists only in your head and can be managed by the tools you use. Read on to discover the primary causes of writer’s block and why Mind Mapping is a great way to defeat them.
Of course, perfectionism can be a good thing – at the right time. But, with the constant temptation to revise work until you’re happy with every word, perfectionism stalls your ability to write and can sometimes prove frustrating enough to make us want to quit writing altogether. You’ll find yourself re-editing, rearranging and restructuring the same phrases and sentences over and over, losing the momentum you need to complete the first draft.
Rather than expecting to write a perfect first draft, take time to plan your writing beforehand. With Mind Mapping, anything goes. You’re not limited to entering only your best ideas so there’s no possibility of getting writer’s block. By using keywords to trigger associations, get all your thoughts down, regardless of their immediate value. Develop your initial ideas further with child branches, making sure to cover all possible ideas and varying perspectives. Mind Mapping encourages you to consider all your options, and become more objective about your thoughts by providing a clear, visual overview.
Using Ayoa’s Category feature, surround key branches with clouds that highlight your best ideas that you want to write more about. Begin your first draft by using these ideas to help you structure each paragraph. Once your first draft is written, you can then call upon your inner perfectionist to help fine-tune your edit.
If you were to ask someone for advice on how to overcome writer’s block, they’d probably say things like ‘get up from your desk’, ‘have a walk around’, or ‘go and make a coffee’. And these things may work, for a sentence or two. That’s because by taking a break from writing, you’re giving your brain time to think in different directions and make new associations.
When you sit in front of a computer and start typing, you often continue on from the last sentence that you wrote. By thinking sequentially, you’re going to end up in writer’s block because your ideas are limited to this sequence, preventing you from thinking in alternative directions.
A visual thinking tool like Ayoa helps you to avoid the shortcomings of sequential and linear thinking. Mind Mapping stimulates generative thinking, a crucial element of the creative process. By sparking ideas and your vivid imagination through images and associations, Mind Mapping reflects the way the human brain thinks. When thinking about a problem or concept, did you know that the first 30% of your ideas tend to be the most obvious? Mind Mapping allows you to go beyond the obvious, stretching your imagination to unearth truly unique and creative ideas. The more creative and well-developed your ideas become, the more these will fuel your writing and surpass the limits of writer’s block.
We also spoke to ProWritingAid to get their advice on how writers can overcome the frustrations of writer’s block. They suggested temporarily changing your focus to the editing stage:
“Sometimes if you are feeling blocked, it works to turn your attention to editing. Editing allows you to be productive as a writer, but calls on a different, more analytical part of your brain. Editing apps like ProWritingAid can help guide you through the editing process and help you stay focused. Then, when you return to creative mode, your brain will feel refreshed and ready to go.”
Ready to give the Mind Map a try next time you have something to write? Sign up to Ayoa for free today and make writer’s block a thing of the past. Or if you’re new to Mind Mapping, check out our How to Mind Map page to learn how to get started.
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