Writer’s block.  It may sound cliché, but whether you are a novice writer or a more seasoned one, chances are, you have experienced a creative slowdown in the writing process. The pressure to produce ground-breaking material can catch up to you as deadlines loom….and let’s face it, sometimes ideas just don’t flow when we need them to.   It is frustrating, to say the least, so what can you do to unblock writer’s block and be on your way to your next blog, article, or chapter?

Exercise

Nothing gets me more motivated, and ideas circulating like a vigorous walk outside in nature.  There is something about getting your body moving, your heart rate up, and endorphins flowing to get your writing back on track.  One writer, Birgitte Rasine, brilliantly referred to it as “The Writer’s High” in her article about exercising to improve writing. That is certainly how it feels when you finish exercising with some ideas to get you started.  Don’t forget to bring a notebook in your car or gym bag to jot down your thoughts as soon as you finish your workout.

Carve out time to make writing your priority

Sometimes life gets in the way, and it is hard to find the time to focus on your writing.  We use our calendars to schedule medical appointments and play dates for our kids; why not schedule time to devote to writing, as well. At least then, your loved ones know that you will be busy during those times.  Once you have scheduled your time, think about the location to best serve your individual writing needs; a quiet place like a home office or library or noisier locations such as a coffee shop or book store.  Your writing is important to you and your audience, so find time to make it a priority.

Take care of you

We know that doing positive things for ourselves is important for our overall health and well-being, but it can also be helpful to our writing process, especially when we feel stuck.  If you are having trouble with the creative process, try doing something you love for inspiration; Have lunch with a friend, get a massage, meditate, take a nap, do yoga. Then go back to writing with a fresh perspective.  Self-care can refresh us, clear our heads, and jump-start ideas for our writing platform. 

Create a positive sensory experience

You would be surprised by the effect that sensory experiences and input can have on our brain and mood.  Think about the way your favorite music, beautiful scenery at the park, or smelling your favorite scent makes you feel.  Try using those experiences to inspire you during the writing process. Want a great sensory experience? Do some writing outside at a park on a sunny day.

Free-write and edit later

Sometimes you just need to brainstorm ideas without a filter. Let the ideas flow quickly onto paper for five minutes, and then go back to edit and further develop those ideas later. The idea is to search your brain for ideas without posing self-judgment because let’s face it, we can be our own harshest critic. So allow time to free-write, and you may come up with ideas that you would not have thought of otherwise.  

Break down the task

Looking at the whole picture and all that it entails can feel overwhelming for any writer. Try breaking it down into smaller pieces using an outline or bullet points in order to zero in on the material you want to cover.  From there, you can slowly work it into a piece of writing that you can be proud of and that your audience will love.

I will leave you with words from some professional novelists because who knows better than them about the creative process. It isn’t always easy, and it doesn’t always go smoothly, but we love it.  Whatever you do, don’t stop writing.

“I haven’t had trouble with writer’s block. I think it’s because my process involves writing very badly. My first drafts are filled with lurching, cliched writing, outright flailing around.  Writing that doesn’t have a good voice or any voice. But then there will be good moments. It seems writer’s block is often a dislike of writing badly and waiting for writing better to happen.”  — Jennifer Egan, American novelist

“The best way in the world for breaking up a writer’s block is to write a lot.” — John Gardner, American novelist

Michelle Richards is a Mom, wife, and social worker with a passion for writing to share positive information. As someone who struggled with writing in high school and the beginning of her college career, Michelle began to discover the art of writing as she learned more about social work and its positive effect on the community.  She aspires to share her experiences to help and empower others. Michelle lives in Wilmington, Delaware, with her husband and two daughters.


If your writer’s block stems from not knowing how to start or organize or imagine, try my online course, Adventures in Writing Nonfiction. I’ll walk you through from first word to last in a step-by-step way designed for beginning writers or those who find themselves stuck. If that’s you, take a peek at what’s in store for you. If you’d rather have the guidance of a personal writing coach, let’s talk! Schedule your complimentary 30-minute Discovery Session here.


 

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