Everyone I know, whether expert writer or novice, suffers at one time or another from writer’s block.
I’ve never gotten over it by working through it. It just doesn’t happen, and here are some of my favorite methods for calming my stomach and my head and writing the words I need to write. What do they all have in common? I stop working on the project at hand. I find that turning my focus from a writing project, even if just for a few minutes, is often enough to get my brain working and my fingers typing. (BTW, playing on Facebook doesn't have the same positive effect.)
Moving away from the damn computer and doing something else!
Seriously…if I haven’t written a word in an hour, I should have gotten up 30 minutes ago. Thinking too hard about why I can’t write makes it even harder for me to write, so when I remember, I try one, or more, of the following.
- Walk my dog (that’s my favorite!),
- Empty the dishwasher,
- Do a load of laundry,
- Meditate (ok, I’m not so great at this, but I just close my eyes for a few minutes and think happy thoughts!), or
- Call my mom.
I’m a huge fan of the s$%^& first draft. I find that if I give myself the freedom to write about something else, anything else, the right words come.
A great “write about anything” exercise is a writing prompt. I might look at my dog, George, and write something about him. Or the striped chair in my office. Or, if I want to have a bit of fun, I find a prompt online. One of my favorite writing prompt sites, Prompt & Circumstance, is run by some friends of mine. This talented group of writers continues to develop writing exercises that get me thinking and writing outside of the box. Right now they have an exercise that asks you to develop an imaginary conversation between co-workers with completely different personalities and belief systems. I'm going to try that one the next time the right words escape me. Those few sentences get my writing brain moving and who knows, they might turn into something creative that I can use somewhere else.
Do you have any tips for getting past that writing “hump” to create the next great masterpiece, or at least finish the report that’s due tomorrow? Leave a comment in the notes below.