I have a little bit of writers block.
I say a little bit…it’s been almost two weeks since my last post and my head is almost filled to the brim with thoughts and ideas waiting to turn into greatness!
When trying to figure out why this block has appeared and who I could vent to about my insecurities and general “bla-ness” around the formation of interesting posts, I thought why not turn it into a blog post?
We’ve all fought this pesky creature at least once so I thought I’d share my ideas about the appearance of this torturous fiend.
I’m having one of those months where ideas are flowing – you know the “Ooooh that’s a BRILLIANT topic to write about!” feeling, and then you come face to face with the mayor of Blanksville?
Yea, thanks. NOT!
The words are just not coming.
“Maybe if I type the title…”
“I’ll bullet point my ideas and then expand on them…”
This technique inspires progress, but not really the feeling you’re looking for. If you’re like me you find yourself staring at the screen searching for that excitement you had when the idea initially took flight in your mind.
It’s okay excellent idea…you fly off on your holidays and we’ll wait here – impatiently – for your homecoming…!
I have many posts half written just waiting for the fog of writer’s doom to disappear so those words can land safely back into my mind and transfer themselves onto paper. Then, once again, I can journey further on my quest to provide some light in people’s lives.
Why, writer’s block? Why??!
As writer’s we’re a competitive bunch – although I don’t think we’re as competitive as some people like to make out – so this need to be edgy, different, entertaining and all the other annoying ideals takes our focus away from why we actually write in the first place: self-expression. We’re all unique! Why do we want to provide the same kind of edginess as other writers? That’s not who we are. We’re not literary slaves. We’re expressive, creative (and occasionally over-sensitive) souls!
We’re not outcasts either (sorry (not sorry) if I’ve shattered some kind of illusion for anyone). We know that our essence is our own and that we write in the hopes of finding some inner clarity. If it helps another person – excellent! If we sell millions of books – even bloody better! At the end of it we are allowing ourselves to indulge in the freedom of expressing our souls, our true natures, our vulnerabilities.
There is this notion that all writers have this need to attain total literary domination as a means of finding happiness. In my eyes it’s a ridiculous notion. This statement is not totally unfounded, but it’s not totally true either. Sometimes all we need is a little smile to remind us to keep faith that our words are being read. Even if someone doesn’t like them they’re still being read! We’re still expressing ourselves! That’s all we want.
Besides, as writers, we are aware that finding happiness outside of ourselves is impossible. Some of us will keep searching for that jewelled treasure of writer’s nirvana externally, but the majority of us know that all we seek lies within. And that’s another reason why we write. There’s so much going on inside our minds (I’m talking A LOT going on here…half the time I don’t know if my thoughts are coming, going, sleeping, diving, taunting, happy…) that writing acts a garden tool for us trying to dig up who we are underneath all the social conditioning and massive egos.
That’s why writer’s block is so bloody frustrating! It’s like our ego has purposely blocked off a part of ourselves – the part we actually like – and is taunting us with the possibilities.
That damned ego.
The temptress writer’s block lures us in with promises of great writing material through suffering, so we blindly follow, forever seeking out that amazing masterpiece that will land us in literary history as one of the greats!
Oh the writer’s dream…sigh.
How do we overcome this sticky situation?
I say we stop focusing on our perceived flaws and meet this famed writer’s block with open arms.
Let’s stick our fingers up to it, have stern words with it, and then hug it out.
Below are some tips that I’ve found really useful for overcoming writer’s block:
Yep. Simple as that. Sit for ten-fifteen minutes (longer if you wish) and just concentrate on the flow of breath. It will keep you focused on the present moment, and it will allow your mind to consciously sleep for a while. It’s like a mini reset button. You’ll come back feeling refreshed, calm and ready to explore new ideas or start expanding on Blanksville!
If you’re finding that the frustration is too much and you can’t breathe calmly, then express that frustration (safely of course!) Use your voice: scream if you have to, huff and puff – which is technically breathing, buuuut slightly heavier so it counts! – stamp your feet on the face of writer’s block, dance the frustration out, scribble it out on paper, just let it out.
The more you bury the frustration the more strength it will have next time you find yourself facing a block. Be at one with the frustration – or any other feelings writer’s block gives you.
If stamping, huffing and puffing and shouting aren’t your thing (or you have neighbours who might think something dodgy is going on if you start doing all this), then sit with the frustration. Acknowledge it and say “Hello Frustration. Why are you here today?” See what it replies and what feelings are brought up. Be with the feeling and as you breathe in say to yourself “I acknowledge you frustration” and as you breathe out say “I release you and allow positive feelings to enter my mind.”
You can do one bit of it or all of it! It’s up to you! You know what works for you! Don’t be afraid to confront your feelings. If they’re rearing their head that means they’re ready to be healed and dealt with and you DO have the strength and courage to face it and let it go! J I believe in you!
Do Something Mundane
That’s right. Do something reeeeeeally boring. I find that when I start performing those mundane tasks we love (cough) like doing the washing, cleaning, tidying your space, then the mind is shut down for a little while. The brain seems to go onto autopilot. It’s within these activities that some of the greatest ideas are found.
I’m also one of those people who does actually like a good cleaning session. There’s something about it that just makes me feel accomplished! I also have this idea that tidy space equals tidy mind! There’s no stopping me once I get started on a cleaning spree!
If you’re like me and enjoy cleaning (I told you I was slightly crazy) then there’s nothing stopping you from doing it. Usually it’s the thought of cleaning that’s enough to stop most people from doing it, but once you’re in a rhythm everyone watch out!
Anyway, back to the mundane before I go off on a tangent about how awesome cleaning is…! Make that appointment you’ve been avoiding, clean the car out, wash the windows, reply to those pesky emails, rearrange the furniture. Whatever you like!
Go For a Walk
Who doesn’t love a walk?
There’s nothing quite like going back to nature, feeling the grass on your bare feet, the wind whispering across your face and feeling connected to everything to get your mind full of fresh ideas. Walking is also exercise (Exercise? What?! Really?!) which releases that lovely hormone serotonin! Who doesn’t want a bit of serotonin in their life?
March right up to the top of that hill, stand with your arms wide and feel the wind. Relish the moment of peace and Oneness. Smile. Breathe. Just be.
If you don’t live near any hills then march to the centre of that field!
Or your garden. Or your local park. Or anywhere…
Walk without a purpose. Focus on the scenery around you and the many conscious beings that are alive and aware just like you. Marvel in that miracle. Live in that miracle.
Maybe the poet in you will appear and write long stanzas about mythical creatures who live in the hillsides whose wings are as fragile and seasonal as the leaves that fall off the trees…let nature inspire your imagination!
Are you crazy?!
Slightly, BUT this DOES work! I have often found that when I start writing – even if it’s a word or two – it sparks something and suddenly I can’t write fast enough!
I know, I know. You have writer’s block! Why would you want to write when there seem to be no ideas or words forming?
“I’m waiting in Blanksville for the return of my amazing idea! I can’t just start writing!”
Yes you can! Don’t let the temptress entice you into oblivion any longer!
Even something as simple as writing a list of subjects you’d like to research or talk about helps.
Don’t forget there’s that old task brainstorming from our school days that works a treat too!
Listen to Music
Put those tunes on and get moving and grooving! Or you can lay on your bed and chill for a few minutes – whatever works for you.
A lot of the time I will hear a word or phrase in a song and it will inspire thoughts and emotions which generate the much needed escapism for the words trapped in my head.
Feel the energy of the music and how it stirs up the waters of your soul.
Pick a book at random, open it up on a random page and start reading. Often it makes sense with how you’re feeling and the words start to speak to you. And hopefully you start speaking back! The words will plant themselves in your mind and grow into great ideas. Before you know it, your little acorn has become the mightiest oak in the enchanted forest!
Plus, there’s nothing wrong with adding some extra knowledge to your noggin! We’re beings that are constantly flowing and learning with life and reading adds to this. Let the words blanket you into inspiration. Cuddle up to them, form a love affair with them, be with them.
Make a Gratitude List
I know people usually say to make one of these when you’re feeling a bit down, but clearly some of these people don’t realise what writer’s block can do to our minds! If we’re not careful we let ourselves tumble down into the dark abyss of our minds rather than tumble down into that magical wonderland of who we really are.
What things are you grateful for today?
What is about being able to write that you’re grateful for? Perhaps it’s the having the education, the physical ability and the mental capacity to write that you’re grateful for? As someone who works in care, I frequently remind myself to be grateful that I have all of those things and I become more appreciative of having it.
Writing one of these lists will keep you focused on the positives. Once you start seeing all that you have you can begin creating your extraordinary masterpiece!
Those are a few ideas that work for me, but feel free to mix and match and come up with your own ideas! If there’s something that you find helps you that I haven’t mentioned then please leave a comment and let me know what it is!
I can honestly say all those do work.
How do you think this post happened?
The first line of this post was “I don’t know what to write so I’m just going to type in the hopes that something insightful and meaningful will appear. Blank. Blankety blank. Bla bla bla. Djsbueiufhqoifeiubvb.”
And now look! Words appeared! (Thank God. I was getting worried.)
Originally I was looking to vent about my frustration of that damned illustrious temptress writer’s block! (Fist shake)
But I’m glad to see that I’ve managed to turn it into something positive for myself, and hopefully something positive for you too!
Be happy. Be you.