I know that feeling all too well when the writer’s block sets in.
Sitting there, twirling the pen in between my fingers while my bum is getting numb.
As I stare at a blank page practically begging for an idea to come to me, I realize that my muse has left the building, leaving no blueprint behind. Frustration sets in and my head slumps forward.
Great, now what?
If you’ve ever felt like this before (with numb nerve endings to prove it), then chances are you’ve experienced a writer’s block. Don’t worry; you’re not alone.
Every writer at some point in time, has gone head to head with the block.
Well, what causes writer’s block, anyway?
There are several possible reasons for your creative slow-down. The most common ones are:
• Fear: This comes in many forms, including fear of failure, fear of being successful, or that your ideas are not good enough. It takes courage to put yourself and your work out there to be read and critiqued, but you are courageous! Just focus on the process instead of the results and know that the more you do this, the less your fear will control you.
• Timing: Your idea may need more thought and it isn’t the time to write it down yet. Take this time to rethink and develop your story more.
• Exhaustion: If you’ve been slaving away at your story for some time, it is possible that your body and mind need rest. It’s okay to take a break from your project for a few minutes, hours, or even days.
Now that we have a better understanding of what writer’s block is, let’s look at steps to tackle it (and win)!
6 Ways to Spark Your Creativity
1. Eliminate Distractions. Start by cleaning your work-space. The more clutter that surrounds me, the more confused my mind becomes. I’m too distracted by things that need to be put away, to even bother with writing. After clearing your space, make sure to turn off your phone and disconnect from the internet. Programs like Ommwriter or FocusWriter are great because they block out your screen, leaving you free from distractions. If you live with others, share with them that this is your creative time and politely ask that you are not disturbed for a few hours. (There are other distraction-free writing programs that you can use!)
2. Get Physical. Whether it be dancing, yoga, lifting, swimming, or running, find an activity that works for you. All of these exercises are good for your brain, which make them great for your writing. I find that when I’m exercising, especially if I’m running, I’m free from distractions and other obligations because I’m only focused on the movement. I would become energized and able to think more freely, and this is when a lot of interesting ideas come to mind.
3. Meditation or Relaxation. Our minds are constantly going with non-stop chatter. Mediation is when you use techniques to clear your mind and achieve calmness. This can be done by focusing on your breathing or reciting mantras. By doing this, you are disciplining your mind by training it to focus on a specific task. Although other thoughts will appear, you will become better able to observe these thoughts without engaging them. Mediation will lead to better concentration and creativity—it will become easier to get into your zone. Here are some ways to get started with mediation.
4. Write Early in the Morning or When You First Wake. I feel that most creatives work best when its an ungodly time of morning, mainly 2am – 6am for me. This is best if you’ve just woken up because your mind is still floating around in dream-space, where it has access to lots of imagination and creativity. I know for me, some of my best ideas have come while I’ve slowly began waking up. Make sure to keep a pen and pad near your bed (or even a dream journal), this way you’re able to catch those ideas as soon as your eyes open.
5. Be Creative. Your creative expression doesn’t have to be limited to words. You could paint, sculpt, scrapbook, or build something, just to name a few. Most of the time when I’m stuck in my writing, I find myself creating a visual art (like painting or drawing), or singing; usually this helps to jumpstart my flow!
6. Try Freewriting. Spend at least 15 minutes a day writing whatever comes to mind. Don’t focus on punctuation, eloquence, or editing of any sort, just allow your mind to be free. Journaling is great for this because it allows you to tap into your thoughts and give them life on paper. Some writers may choose to freewrite 15 – 20 minutes prior to working on their project, while others may choose to do this for a week or so before returning to their project.
These are 6 of my favorite ways to get back into the swing of things, but there are certainly more out there! You could also try:
- Reading a Book
- Reading Inspirational Quotes
- Listening to Music
- Changing your Environment
- Brainstorming with a Friend
You’ll see that as soon as you find and apply a method that works for you, you’ll be on your way to writing again in no time! If all else fails, just remember this: you can do this if you just keep writing.
“Don’t waste time waiting for inspiration. Begin, and inspiration will find you.” –H. Jackson Brown Jr.
What are some ways that you overcome writer’s block? Please share in the comments below.
(Featured photo credit: Negative Space via pexels.com)