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How to Beat Writer's Block When You've Hit a Wall

Here's the lowdown on this pesky phenomenon.

Beating writer's block is different for everyone and no one thing is a magical cure-all solution to this very inconvenient, very legitimate occurrence. Do you think Ina Garten perfected her famous Blueberry-Peach Crumble after one try? Well, maybe, because she’s Ina Garten. But most likely, she tried and failed and tried again to get her recipe perfect.

Writer's block, or brain block, stems from a lot of trial and error and we tend to focus too much on the error part and not enough on the trial part. Sometimes you need to fail in order to succeed, and that’s not just a motivational poster ploy—it’s a fact.

You need to look at that blank page or empty mixing bowl with gumption and not let it beat you. Inspiration comes in many different forms, so here’s how to watch out for it:

Keep your mind open

You can get an idea for an article in the middle of a completely unrelated Netflix series or while diligently looking for related articles on your favorite news outlet. The moral here is to always be on the look out for inspiration. Make use of that notes app on your phone and jot ideas down when they come to you, whether it's during the latest Real Housewives marathon or while scouring Instagram for new foodies to follow. 

Limit distractions

Know what’s important and what’s not. Exercise the self-control to tune out notifications or messages that are just hurdles put in place to deter you from real progress. Take it one step further and download apps like Moment or BreakFree which helps you track your phone usage and return to the real world. Candy Crush, Snapchat, and Instagram can wait until after you write that life-changing essay. 

Bookmark until your fingers hurt

Save any article you stumble upon that ignites a spark. You never know when something you’re reading now could come in handy for a killer article next week. Create folders so you can break it down by type, and go back to the page later when you're ready to brainstorm or write.

A BuzzFeed quiz, your favorite blogger's new post, or a list of must-try restaurants your friend on Facebook just shared are all fair game. Save them to revisit for when you just need a little boost.

Switch it up

Play a new podcast or audiobook instead of listening to the same playlist over and over again. Go to your local coffee shop instead of Starbucks on your way to class. Start reading from news outlets you normally ignore. The littlest changes can help you climb out of your creative funk. 

See, that wasn't so bad. Maybe this very article helped you get back on your feet. In which case, @ me when you're famous.

And in the wise words of pop culture icon Big Sean, "Last night took an L, but tonight I bounce back. "