There are no hard and fast rules for writing except for one: writers block is a real thing and nearly everyone that writes experiences it. Yes, yours truly suffers from it, too.
If you are suffering from this malady, I’m sorry. Writers block is the worst. Perhaps I can offer you a remedy?
These are my five tips for writers block.
Tip #1: Stop Writing
Someone once told me, whenever you find yourself in a hole the first thing you do is stop digging. This is wonderful advice in so many situations, from spousal arguments to credit card debt and, of course, writing.
If you’re stuck on words or where to go next, I recommend the first thing you do is stop writing. If you have house chores, do those.
If you have a day job, maybe now is a good time to get some work done. The key is to stop hitting your head against the creative wall.
Stop. Turn yourself around. Come back when you have fresh eyes.
Tip #2: Get Some Exercise
This should feel like a reply to the question: “what should I do now?”
Physical exercise is good for us. The endorphins released with an elevated heartbeat are physiologically irreplaceable. Breaking a sweat feels good. Sense of accomplishment boosts mood.
Whatever your skill level, there is an exercise for you.
When I’m a little stuck, I walk the dog through the park. Between the fresh air and the faces and her enthusiasm, something magic happens.
If I am really ground down, I go to the gym. A little music and a good vigorous work out always seems to get my creative juices flowing again.
Tip #3: Go For A Drive
This is another of my go to strategies: no matter the weather, rain or shine, a drive in the country breaks my stuck parts free.
Often my writing is about place. I write about rural America, so a drive out on some lonesome country highway has a way of putting me back in touch with my core subject and set of images.
If you don’t drive (or are more environmentally inclined than I am) maybe you take a bus ride? Or a bike ride?
Tip #4: Read Poetry
This one might seem outside the box, but try and hear me out.
Writing forms like fiction, screenwriting and non-fiction are often based on sets of rules. Characters are supposed to do things at certain times. Structural dogma is everywhere. Even the page has a rigid look to it.
Poetry is about… something else. Immersing yourself in a work by William Carlos Williams or ee cummings is about loose associations. There are verbal and conceptual connections in the brilliant poetry of say Emily Dickinson that simply do not exist in fiction.
You might not be writing about the same things. But if you let go and feel the way a poet treats a subject, it came help shake that rigid feeling.
When I’m feeling stuck, or I’m feeling like my writing is getting gray, I will read poetry of some kind and immerse myself in the imagery and language, finding new connections that otherwise would not come to me.
Tip #5: Create In A Different Way
This is a powerful tip for writers block. Find a different way to express yourself, whether that is through conversation, cooking a glorious meal, drawing or painting… whatever it is, stop trying to tell a story.
You’ve probably heard this one. I don’t know how to explain it, but sometimes I feel as though when I go up and draw with my 5-year old kid, the writer side of my brain says, whoa, what about me?
Well? What about you?
The most important aspect of all tips for writers block is understanding that the page will be there when you get back. It will. If you’re in it for the long haul, writing as a way of life, then the blank page is a part of your life.
Do you have tips for writers block that you would like to share? If so, leave them in the comments. I would love to hear more…
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