All writers get it. All writers hate it. We often don’t know what to do about it. Yep, I’m talking about the dreaded Writer’s Block! As a writer, I have personally experienced this most annoying of hindrances when it comes to my work. In this post, I will share some methods that I have found helpful for overcoming that blank page inside your head and getting the words flowing again.
The first time I encountered the term “Writer’s Block” was in the seventh grade. I was at an assembly with my English class and an author was our guest speaker. She spoke about writing and about writer’s block. Though I was unfamiliar with that particular struggle (I had been writing songs, poems, and stories since I learned to write my name with a seemingly endless supply of ideas!) I filed away some of her words of wisdom for a later date. And you know what? They worked!
Method One: Put Pen to Paper
This particular author’s main way of combating writer’s block was to write anyway. I remember her saying that it didn’t matter what she wrote – it could be as simple as writing her name over and over again – because it was the act of writing itself that helped her. Now this is another post where I’m going to date myself. She wrote by picking up a pen and paper. Personal computers were just not a thing during my childhood. If I find myself creatively blocked now, I could try this method on a computer, but I personally prefer writing the “old-fashioned” way with pen and paper. There is just something about the movement of the pen in my hand, the smooth feel of the paper, and the ink flowing across the page that seems to help clear up my creative clog.
The first time I ever experienced writer’s block, I tried this method and it worked. Granted, it worked after I had written several pages of my name, my favorite books, the color of the sky, and anything else that popped into my head. But after a while, new ideas started popping in and I was meeting a new character and starting a new story.
Method Two: Get Out (doors)!
Another means of unblocking that I find particularly useful is a change of scenery – i.e. get out of the house/ office/ get away from the computer! I have always found that being outside, particularly near water, has gotten my creative juices flowing. So if I’m blocked, I grab a notebook and pen and head to my back yard, nearby park, or the beach if Mother Nature is feeling generous that day.
If I can’t think of anything to write, I’ll just sit and let my senses do the work. I listen to the world around me. There are bound to be noises outdoors – talking, laughing, yelling, children playing, cars, birds, music, etc. I’ll observe everything I see around me and I’ll smell the fresh cut grass or flowers or someone grilling burgers nearby. This overload of the senses as well as the peacefulness that comes from being outdoors usually helps clear my head and get new ideas flowing.
Method Three: If You’re Stressed Out, Work Out!
A final method I use when really blocked is exercise. I find that, for me, regular exercise helps keep me mentally healthy as well as physically healthy. It is a great way to relieve the stress that is taking up all the room in my mind, leaving no room left for new ideas or brainstorms.
So whether it’s walking, swimming, or dancing, I will make it a point to work out more if I’m feeling creatively blocked. The more stress I work off, the more I clear my head, and then the more room I have for new ideas.
I hope these methods of unblocking help you out the next time you find yourself stuck on a blank page. What methods do you utilize when you find yourself blocked?