I don’t think there is a writer (or any artist) in existence who has never suffered through writer’s block. I don’t know how it feels to you, but to me it always feels like a thick fog is filling my mind and there is nothing I can do to blow the fog away. It’s a big pain if you have no means of getting out of it, and most of us will have gone through several experiences where we couldn’t get out of it for a long time.
Now, finally, I have found a few ways which help me get out of that fog in my mind. I don’t think there’s a foolproof way of beating Writer’s Block so the same method may not work every time, but it’s better than nothing at all!
1) Go for a walk.
It’s amazing what a change of scenery and a bit of fresh air can do for your imagination. Just leaving your desk for fifteen minutes can make all the difference, but if you have the time why not go for a nice walk? A cold breeze can be very invigorating, and the feel of warm sunshine on your skin is relaxing and refreshing. Try not to combine your walk with other chores, like grocery shopping – if you don’t have the time to do both it can’t be avoided, but really you want your walk to be stress – and rush- free, where you can focus entirely on the world around you and let your mind wander.
2) Listen to music.
A lot of people get their inspiration from music, and listen while they write to set the mood, but I can’t listen to music and write at the same time. I find it distracting to have music running in the background, but that doesn’t mean I can’t listen to music to relax for a bit! Sit somewhere other than your writing space, maybe even put together a playlist, and actively listen to every word. By listening to every note you allow your mind to focus on something different, and immersing yourself with the music will draw you into the lyrics, actively engaging your mind. It might even give you an idea for that tricky bit you’ve been struggling with!
3) Play something.
This may well not work for everyone, but I’m a gamer so playing a game I love is a sure-fire way to hold my attention for a while! When you play a game you have to focus on what you’re doing if you want to play well, so your mind has no choice but to leave your book behind and focus on a different story. On top of that it’s a good way to tackle frustration and stress, and it’s fun, so it’s bound to be a great break for your hard-working mind.
4) Allow yourself weekends.
I know. Writing a book is exciting, especially once you got to the juicy bits you’ve been dying to write since the beginning, but in every other job you’d have a weekend. Why deny yourself one? Because you don’t have steady office hours? Because you don’t have to attend meetings, or because you don’t have to put up with colleagues you don’t get along with? A lot of us can’t quit our day jobs just because we want to be full-time writers. Working away at your book every day without a weekend isn’t the fair thing to do to yourself! It’s not easy to write a book with dedication, so don’t punish yourself. And I mean from all social media related to your book, too. Take a proper weekend, and then start again refreshed on Monday.
5) Read something.
It may not be as far away from writing as you would like it to be, but actually reading another book can be very stimulating. You pick up on little things you like or dislike about someone else’s writing, which can give you pointers for your own. More than that, reading a very well written bit can be inspiring and get your own creative juices flowing! Just focus on their story, don’t keep comparing it to yours. This is to distract yourself from that book-thing you’re trying to write, remember? Focus on their plot and characters, and let your mind relax without leaving the field.
6) Hug a pet.
There’s evidence – scientific evidence! – that cuddling a puppy relieves your stress levels like nobody’s business, and that the sound of a cat’s purr is very soothing on our stretched nerves. Not all of us have a pet handy but you may know a friend who does who you visit often already. Pets love attention (no matter how much cats try to hide it), so everybody wins! If neither you nor a friend has a pet you could always pet a cat you meet in the street (like I do, I’d never walk past a cat without saying hello), or a dog somebody else is walking (if they don’t mind, that is – ask, don’t just pet someone’s Golden Retriever no matter how tempting it is).
7) Do some colouring.
There are so many colouring books for adults these days that you shouldn’t have any trouble finding one. Colouring is very relaxing and therapeutic, and I don’t care that you’re too old for it because there’s no such thing as being too old to do some colouring. Colouring when we were kids was great, and it can still be great now! There’s nothing childish about relaxing over some intricate design with some colouring pencils (some designs ask you to add to them, too) and you most definitely don’t have to ashamed about it. I know a lot of people who have started colouring again, and you could be one of them!
How do you tackle writer’s block? Which methods have proven invaluable to you when it strikes? Leave a comment below and let me know!
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