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Tearing Down Writer's Block, Brick by Stupid Brick

Updated on March 8, 2010

I've been infected!

Oh the frustration of writer's block... I have been afflicted. My creativity has been muffled, and all the write words are floating out of reach in outer space, near Pluto I think. Fortunately my case of writer's block hasn't quite affected my quantity output of hubs on hubpages. But although I almost never run out of ideas for hubs, still I feel like my hub quality is lacking something lately. The worst of it is, writer's block has been affecting my fiction writing. I don't ever post fiction on hubpages, or you'd know what I mean. I have vague words and shadowy figures dancing quadrilles in my mind, but I can't figure out how to write them all down. Like that story about the mashed potatoes from KFC... I'm still stuck at that spot when - but I probably shouldn't tell you. At any rate, I feel like inspiration packed his bags and moved away, leaving me behind with an insecure imagination.

Despite my lack of creativity lately, I still have that stubborn streak. I can't let it go. Never! So with a thousand blank pages and a thousand unwritten stories, I contemplate my dilemma. How do I get out of this seemingly bottomless pit of writer's block, write the next best thing in American literature, and still retain my sanity? Honestly I'm not quite sure. But I've been trying all sorts of writer's block cures, and I believe they've helped me. Of course, it's my readers who will have the ultimate decision of whether or not my writing is any better. Here are some tips to overcome writer's block.

writer's block

I even let my flower die
I even let my flower die

Break Your Computer

When my creative vibes get blocked, I often waste my time on the computer. Between emails, twittering, facebooking, hubpages (yes, sometimes I get overly obsessed with this wonderful website) etc. etc. etc., a whole day can fly away with not much to show for it except a lack of exercise and a profusion of immaterial electronic illusions. So perhaps it was a blessing when my computer died (again!) the other day. I have been forced to get off the internet and see the world again. Oh, hello world, I've missed you! Still, it is rather annoying when you have to borrow someone's Mac (with that rinkydink keyboard) to do the online necessaries. I like to think my lovely pc has been inflicted with a strain of writer's block too, and it will be up and running after a good deal of rest.

Computer Connections by Petr Kratochvil
Computer Connections by Petr Kratochvil

Take a Hike

...Or a walk. Walking makes me feel like all my thoughts are released out of prison. Of course, all those jailbirds are so delirious with freedom that they run me ragged. It makes me feel like I'm having a hundred conversations with myself. This could be a bad thing, but I like to think that it helps my creativity. So when I need to clear my head, I take a walk, even if it means a walk in the rain. I really don't mind walking in the rain. Well, I don't mind until my fingers get chilly and I find myself crossing the street looking like a wet rat. That's when I feel like all those anonymous drivers are looking at me in condescending pity.

Laugh your way out of three in the afternoon

I hope I'm not the only one whose heart stops beating at precisely three in the afternoon. Maybe it has something to do with the heat, but I generally lose all of my energy in the afternoon. The smoldering moments creep on and the sun keeps on shining and I feel like absolutely nothing. Writing anything worth reading gets thrown out the window, and I sit and wait for... anything. It's good to take a break sometimes, and a good way to wile away the afternoon blues is to watch something that makes you laugh. I like to watch an an episode or two of "The Office". When no one and nothing can make me smile, Steve Carell can. All it takes is hearing the Office Theme Song. =D

Read a book for fun

Sometimes I can't watch "The Office." Like when my laptop dies - I'm sorry, I mean becomes ill - and I don't have access to technology. There's nothing like a good book to read, any time of the day. I'm hoping writer's block is only temporary; however, I am positive that book-addiction is, in my case, incurable. I was happy at the last used book sale I attended because I escaped with only six books, not my usual ten or fifteen. Reading helps expand your mental horizons; it gives you new ideas; it teaches you how to put words together. You can't be a writer unless you read.

there are mountains of books to read
there are mountains of books to read

Inspire yourself

In an attempt to inspire myself, I scavenged the garage for my old corkboard, cleaned it off, and decorated it with things that I find beautiful. It was really fun to put together. I put on Pandora radio, printed off some photos, and made my floor entirely messy. I decorated my corkboard with ocean-themed pictures, shells, and my favorite quotes. Now all I have to do is find wall space.

As I was working on my corkboard, I discovered my old shell collection growing old in the closet. I pulled some out and decorated my windowsill with them. Now I have fragments of the sea all around me.

Turn up the music

Music is the universal language. A lot of my inspiration (when it isn't out of town) comes from the music I listen to. I'm a picky listener I guess, but maybe that's because the lyrics are so important to me. If I can't connect, I can't listen. Music is an art, and the world needs more musicians who are true artists. Regina Spektor is one such musician. Listening to her songs is like reading amazing short stories. She inspires me.

Write write write

It seems like I always hear writers giving the advice to write every day. And I think they're right. You don't have to write a complete story every day, or add another flawless chapter to your book every day. Just write a little. Write an email. Write a poem. Write your name on the tree in the backyard. The point is, write. If you are a writer, writing should become as regular as eating breakfast: it's good for you.

Start a blog

Like I said before, writer's block seems to be affecting me more in fiction than in nonfiction. If you are having trouble in one genre, try another. A good way to start something new and to keep your mind going is to start a blog. Blogs are easy to get started and keep updated. It doesn't take much time, and you can write whatever you want. The possibilities are endless.

The End

I feel so much better now! I might even take a stab at that mashed potatoes story. It's good to take a break sometimes, but it's back to the writing tablet for me. If you've survived this long and read all my ramblings, thank you. Procrastination, like sarcasm, is an art form. To do it right, you need imagination.

Do you suffer from writer's block?

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    • lmlynde profile image

      lmlynde 5 years ago from Nevada

      What a great article you wrote for your fellow hubbers that do experience this! Thank you! Since I am a newbie, I really should not be having this stage so soon, however, after reading your article, I will just try a short hub & then work my way up to a bigger one! Thanks again!

    • Julie DeNeen profile image

      Blurter of Indiscretions 5 years ago from Clinton CT

      sharing this hub. Found you through HOTD. I think I will follow!!!

    • Rose West profile image
      Author

      Rose West 8 years ago from Michigan

      itakins, good point, I like your optimistic view. Writer's block can be a good thing. I'm glad you can empathize!

    • itakins profile image

      itakins 8 years ago from Irl

      Writer's block is said -clearly by a writer-to be a form of mental cleansing and giving the brain a rest!

      I do think switching around into different areas helps.

      Either way this is a great hub-feel the empathy:)

    • Rose West profile image
      Author

      Rose West 8 years ago from Michigan

      Michael E. Horton, you're right, I have had many things on my mind. Thanks for the reminder to relax :)

    • profile image

      Michael E. Horton 8 years ago

      Relax, seems like you have a thousands things going on inside your mind. Write, but relax a little.

    • Rose West profile image
      Author

      Rose West 8 years ago from Michigan

      Psychic Australia, thank you for reading. It's nice to know I'm not the only one :)

    • Psychic Australia profile image

      Psychic Australia 8 years ago from Australia

      A very amusing read, and nice energy on it too,

      Writers block is such a challenge for us all.

    • Rose West profile image
      Author

      Rose West 8 years ago from Michigan

      mulberry1, time does matter, although sometimes I wish it went faster. Like when I'm waiting for my computer to get better...

    • mulberry1 profile image

      Christine Mulberry 8 years ago

      Sounds like great advice. Sometimes just taking a couple of days of does the trick.

    • Rose West profile image
      Author

      Rose West 8 years ago from Michigan

      2uesday, thanks for reading and all your great comments. I'm glad I wrote this hub, just because it's nice to hear advice from everyone! Right you are about writing uninhibited. Just write what you want and fix it later. I like the point you made about letting go and not trying too hard. Thank you for all your help!

    • 2uesday profile image

      2uesday 8 years ago

      Very good hub, maybe the writers block has been defeated by you writing this hub Rose, I hope so.

      I think the best advice I ever read about writing was to write it down and then get it right. The pressure of trying to get it all down accurately first time is pretty overwhelming. I do not think that helps much though in a true writers block situation. Maybe this would not work for others but I have made myself write something based on something with no 'promise' like a shopping list/an object such as a vase or I visited a museum.

      I think like a lot of things when we pursue it/try too hard (writing) it escapes us, so when we loosen our grip it becomes easier. Sorry I am not much help. Your hub was a good read.

    • Rose West profile image
      Author

      Rose West 8 years ago from Michigan

      Kendall, thank you for coming by! Good point, you have to write right when the ideas come, otherwise they just lose something over time. I've been falling asleep too. Good thing about that is, you can just write down what you dream about :)

    • Kendall H. profile image

      Kendall H. 8 years ago from Northern CA

      Great Hub Rose! Something else to add would be to fall asleep at your computer during writers block. My problem lately is having all these ideas pop into my mind and I get excited by them but then when I finally have a moment to sit down and think it through it doesn't excite me the same way. I guess all the professionals have it right. Just sit down and write out what comes then kick out the annoying imp voice inside your head. I greatly enjoyed reading this!

    • Rose West profile image
      Author

      Rose West 8 years ago from Michigan

      Jane, your comment makes me smile :) Thanks to you for the corkboard idea. Mine's not perfect, but it was a good project for me to work on as I recuperated enough to be released from my metaphorical ICU (my metaphor was drawn from medical science). Good idea for the support group. Of course, all of our three-o-clocks occur at various times due to different time zones. But maybe that would be easier for us to encourage each other. Thank you so much for reading!

    • Jane Grey profile image

      Ann Leavitt 8 years ago from Oregon

      Oh my, you are hilarious for someone with writers block! Sarcasm and procrastination: an art form?! I'm going to have to bookmark this page for so many reasons. I loved your cork board (looks like you could stare at it for hours) and your seashells on the window! Also, I nearly jumped out of my metaphorical skin (my metaphor was drawn from anatomy) when you said you have a million conversations with yourself when you take a walk. Yes. And yes, my heart stops at three in the afternoon unless it starts snowing or raining.

      Thank you, thank you, for writing this! I was smiling and laughing and I think I've decided we should start a HubPages support group for all of us with heart failure at three p.m.

    • Rose West profile image
      Author

      Rose West 8 years ago from Michigan

      Springboard, I agree with all your comments. I just need to stop procrastinating and write something! Wait, I already am :) Computers are so annoying sometimes, and yet it would be hard to live without one. Oh for the simpler life of bygone days...

    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Write, write, write seemed to me, and has seemed to me in the past, to be the absolute best solution. It doesn't matter what you write, or even how well what you write is written. But you've got to write something, even if you don't publish it nor intend to. It is the process that frees up the imagination and the continuity of the word flow that brings it all together, and keeps it coming.

      I like the breaking the computer part as well. A new computer always conjures up the exploratory side of oneself, and that's a bit of a creative process in and of itself is it not? :)

    • Rose West profile image
      Author

      Rose West 8 years ago from Michigan

      Jen's Solitude, I hope your day of writer's block doesn't come, because it's not fun. But then again, the hard times make you appreciate the good times.

      Arthur Fontes, I love moments like that! You're so right. Seeing new things and new people really does help. It's very easy to get cramped inside a mental closet, but then getting outside to the real world opens your eyes.

    • Arthur Fontes profile image

      Arthur Fontes 8 years ago from Fall River,MA

      I find that meeting people and having conversations with strangers gives me inspiration. Ideas for character development and the ability to ask questions about your story and gain valuable research. I spoke with a nurse last night which was a coincidence. I was stuck in a story involving a nurse and was not sure how the nurse would react to the situation in my story. I had my block lifted. Sometimes the real world will provide all the answers you seek.

    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 8 years ago from Delaware

      I haven't suffered from writer's block yet, but always enjoy reading about it because I figure my day will come. Thanks for the great ideas. And The Office always makes me laugh too!

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