It happens to all writers. You are typing at a clip, fingers flying across the keyboard, when suddenly not another idea nor word comes forth.
Nada. Zero. Zilch.
At some point, all writers hit a block, a period of congestion, a time when the ideas seem to dry up. When that happens, it’s important to get busy doing something about it.
Hopefully you removed all distractions before you began writing. If not, let’s do that first. In case you need help with this, one of these nine distraction-free tools may be just the thing for you.
When your mind wanders and writer’s block renders you wordless, here are the top ten tips and tricks to get your creative juices flowing again.
1. Get your blood flowing.
Revive that numb butt. Take a brisk walk, exercise, or shake your booty to your favorite music. Fortunately, walking around my block is about 3/4 of a mile. If I continue past my house for a few more minutes, I can put in a mile in no time. Dan Brown uses a more unusual way of getting blood flowing, but you’re advised to exercise caution before trying his technique alone.
2. Work on another chapter or type of writing.
When I get stuck in a given chapter, I switch to working on a different chapter or creating the book description. This is a good time to write that heartfelt letter of appreciation.
3. Change your location.
If you’ve been writing in your favorite writing spot, get up and relocate to another room. You may even need to work on the patio or yard. How about going to a library, coffee shop, bookstore or park? The idea is to momentarily break your routine.
4. Change to a non-writing activity.
Go check on your goldfish, water the backyard, or sort your sock drawer. I never thought I’d recommend washing dishes, but it works too, and gives you a sense of accomplishment, Okay, don’t like these? Pick another non-writing activity then.
5. Write nonsense.
When I students in my writing class hit a block, I urged them to write “I can’t think of anything to write” over and over. Eventually the brain will tire of this monotony and open up your creative flow again.
6. Switch writing tools.
If you’ve been writing on the computer, switch to writing on paper with a pen, markers, pencil or crayon.
7. Browse through your photos or camera roll.
Enjoy reminiscing as you revisit photos from your parties, milestones, and other occasions.
8. Call a friend you haven’t talked to in a while.
At times like this, I especially enjoy reaching out to a friend who is home-bound, whether it’s temporary or long-term.
There are tremendous mutual benefits and it’s good karma.
9. Do another creative activity.
Paint, knit, or work in your garden. Pull out your crayons, color pencils, markers or gel pens and enjoy one of the coloring books for adults.
10. Laugh for no reason.
Dr. Madan Kataria, an Indian medical doctor, created laughter yoga for its health and wellness benefits. Laughter shares some of the same benefits of aerobic exercise and does not have to be tied to humor. Learn how from the TEDx video below.
By the way, writer’s block cannot be cured or avoided. It’s an inevitable part of being a writer. Many reasons are given for writer’s block, but regardless of the source, prolific writers find ways around and through it. Graham Greene found success by keeping a dream journal.
How do you deal with writer’s block? Does one of the tips in the article appeal to you? Share your thoughts in the Comments.