- Books, Literature, and Writing
Writers Block Help
What Writer's Block Feels Like
How to Overcome
What Writer's Block?
What to write, what to write? Oh me, oh my-- if it isn't writer's block; that energy sucking demon that seems to coerce those with so much to say into a deafening silence. A hurdle, or sometimes a challenging monolith every writer has come face to face with at some point in their literary endeavors.
I can see myself now: staring blankly into the computer screen, surfing the internet, building my social network, listening to music, all the while wondering what I'm going to write my next hub about. Forcing myself to churn out a suitable topic for HubPages is probably my favorite (neurotic) pastime these days.
It usually spirals into a plethora of tangential thoughts with no aligned direction nor any focused attention. My mind flits back and forth, floundering with indecision after indecision about the subject matter of my next hub. Misdirected energy strikes again and I am rendered utterly helpless in its grip. More often than not I have to just leave the computer because a giant wall of stagnant negativity has been created that blocks me from the beautiful creativity, inspiration, and clarity that is actually ever present, but veiled behind the block in these moments. I sometimes just want to give up my dreams, wave the white flag, stop the presses, cancel Christmas, call off the
wedding with the Muse and slide into a sedentary lifestyle- wanting to trade in the vast experiences being a creator has to offer for the cold comfort of a mind-numbing lifestyle... Wait, why am I in line at McDonald's listening to Justin Bieber in a Yellow Hummer with a TV in the dashboard?
Call in the creative paramedics...Man Down!! ! Turn off the lights, shut down the ride and
All. Hope. Is. Lost... or is it?
Writing, or performing any creative endeavor well, is composed of about 10% skill and technique with the remaining 90% the energy behind it. I believe success comes from a steady flow of energy. That is what writer's block stops. It's that feeling that there's a cork on the spouts of the mind, heart and voice. Most writer's block issues stem from there not being enough or the right type of energy being put forth. Since writing especially has to do with the mind and the internal voice, it is important to get everything aligned and all the energetic cobwebs dusted out. Here are a few tips on stirring up the right type of energy and gathering momentum when attempting to scale a writer's block.
Often, writer's block comes from not being focused or that thoughts are all over the place. Sometimes its better to just roll with this type of energy instead of attempting to control it. A good exercise to increase focus is to actually not focus. It sounds counter-intuitive but to actually get rid of flighty thoughts and fancies, you have to let them pour out of your brain. So instead of trying to force your thoughts into choosing a subject or object, simply just spew out what your inner voice is saying right now. It may be complete gibberish. It doesn't matter, and most times it turns into something brilliant. You'll be making room for a more calm, steady and aligned flow of thoughts to fill the page with. In this way you improve communication between you and your reader as well as with yourself. You are surrendering to the current state of your own mind and not trying to forcibly will your thoughts into a corner. In this way you are also accepting yourself as worthy enough to be a creator in the moment and not judging what comes out onto the page. Self-judgment is one of the biggest hindrance to any creative work. I am reminded of the scenes in Dead Poet's Society where Todd Anderson is perpetually crumpling up poems on his dorm room bed. When he doesn't have a poem to read in front of the class, he's forced by his professor to spit out what first comes to his head... and when he's done, it's pure genius. By letting even the most absurd sounding things come out, you can pierce through the darkness of writer's block and see a glimmer of beauty, and sometimes that's all you need.
Describe an Object Deeply
Pick an object that you see in front of you and describe it deeply. To do this simply look at the image, turn off the judging part of your brain and calmly concentrate on the figure. When you are done "zoning in" on it, describe not only the object but what happened while you were focusing. Writing is as much about you, the writer, as it is any subject or object you choose to write about. Your feelings and perceptions are completely relevant and should be described as well. Then, ask yourself some questions about the object of attention. Where did it come from? How did it get there? What is it's purpose? Try to think beyond mere physical characteristics. If the flow continues to be blocked just surrender and start making things up. If you're looking at a building, imagine the story behind where it came from. Imagine the all the people and circumstances that helped make that building the way it is. The workers, the architects, even the contours of the Earth that it sits on. Think of the day it was finally completed. What happened on that day? Pretty soon you'll be hitting on some deep level of interconnectedness, and this allows the flow of creative energy to rush more consistently and steadily.
If you are hunched over a typewriter, computer or notebook, grinding your teeth and sweating, you may need to give it a break for a minute. Often times, stagnation can spread from the mind and physically manifest itself in the body. If you can feel this stress in your body, give it a break. Get up and go outside and soak up some sun. Or, if the tension is too high, sprint down the block! That is sure to release some pressure valves and may even stir up some ideas. Stretching is one of my favorites. It helps you to identify specific tense spots and you can consciously give them relief through a stretch that targets that region. Jumping on trampolines, sommersaults, rolling down hills, climbing trees and even lifting weights can blow out the creative blockages and give you a new feeling when sitting down to write.
A different type of physical misalignment is exhaustion. If it's 3 in the morning, and you're trying to grind out a grand and beautiful soliloquy- you're nodding head the only thing keeping you awake- just walk away. Put it down and don't force creativity, ever. It is not something that can be forced and the more you try to in these scenarios, the more frustration you will produce. Try taking it easy for a little bit. The story of Archimedes, Greek mathematician, struggling with a way to find out how to determine the volume of two different objects. The goes that he struggled with this problem for a long time and, at the advice of his wife, went to take a bath and relax. When he stepped into the bath, he noticed that water spilled over the top of the bath, proportionate to how much of his body was in there. This little break from his thinking mind allowed him to be handed the solution of displacement, and he ran through the streets of Syracuse shouting "Eureka!" which means 'I've found it' in Greek. The power of knowing when to take a break can revitalize your writing and keep you fresh!
Stay Close to Inspiration
To get creativity ignited, surround yourself with things that inspire you. It may be other writings, inspiring quotes or even your favorite color. Whatever it is, don't keep it too far away from yourself. If you are trying to churn out a creative masterpiece in a music-less and art-less white-walled room with no windows, you may want to find a new working space. Of course, true inspiration has to come from within, but having an outside reflection of inspiration can serve as a reminder of your own greatness as a human. Personally, I like to listen to some killer Lotus or Sound Tribe sets. The music is very malleable and high-energy, woven masterfully into crescendo after crescendo that keep my fingers and mind moving. You may like Batman or red grapes - it doesn't matter. Whatever gets your juices going is what you need to be encompassed by in order to light the fire of creative word smith-ery.
Good References for Writer's block
Do It For Your Own Joy
If the above techniques sound a little silly to you, or aren't working for you, just remember- creating is all about energy, desire and intent. You have to want to create, you can't just kind of, maybe write something that people will think is cool. You have to do it for yourself and follow through! You have to have the fire, the gusto and the feeling behind writing (or whatever creative thing you're doing), in order for it to be worth a damn! If not, you may just need a little direction in finding what it is that turns you on. Something that jives with you on a deep level. Something you lose yourself in because it grabs all of your attentive faculties and won't let go! . You may have many of them, or just one, but when you find it you will know.
That goes for any subject you wish to write about as well. You have to do unto your creation only what you would do unto yourself. If you force yourself to write about something trending on Twitter, Google or Yahoo just because it will bring you a lot of traffic and not because you resonate with it, then you are falling into a creative trap. Your intentions must be to experience the joy that comes from doing what you love. Otherwise, your (creative) spirit will not be satisfied, no matter how many hits you get from a hub, blog or article. If you aren't enjoying yourself while writing, then writing, or the subject matter you're writing about, might not be for you. The ultimate thing is to be happy with what you are doing and all else will fall into place.