The Infectious Disease Entitled “Writer’s Block”

By Meagan Jones

The “Writer’s Workshop” blog posts are meant to be a collage of writer’s tips, tricks, and strategies, including the first steps to publishing, writing prompts, strategies for writer’s block, and a general jumble of ideas to help you in your quest to create and publish.

 

          I don’t know about you, but writer’s block is a phrase I hear all the time.

          “I can’t think of ideas!”

          “Nothing’s inspiring me.”

          “Everything I write sounds awful.”

          Or,

          “I literally have nothing to write with.” (If you have nothing to write with, my suggestion is to ask someone if you can borrow a pencil.)

          If you’re thinking internally, “that’s me,” then there’s a good chance you’ve contracted the disease entitled “writer’s block.” It’s very serious, I’ll have you know. So serious, it can destroy your life! (Note: as of writing this sentence, I have been informed that in fact, not all of us are writing nerds, and the disease will NOT, in fact, ruin most people’s lives.)

 

          Whether or not you believe in the existence of the disease entitled “writer’s block,” it is true that for most writers, there will always be a point in time that no words will flow through the pen.

          Some famous authors will tell you to be sure to write every single day – about anything – but just write. Sometimes, that process works. I envy the people who can do that. But for most writers I know – and trust me, that’s a lot of them – they can’t just sit down and automatically get those creative juices flowing.

          So what do I do? You might ask.

          “I’ve no idea,” I say as I drag myself towards the computer to write this, “I’ve barely begun to figure it out myself.”

          That is partially a lie. But only partially. I do have some very simple tricks that might help you on your journey into figuring out how to concoct your own antidote.

          Number 1. Go for a walk.

          It’s very simple. Go for a walk. Let your mind wander. Don’t worry about the work you left behind, focus on what is right in front of you. Use all of your senses – sight, touch, smell, taste, hearing, ghost sense – and take it all in. Take a few long, deep breaths through your stomach. (Incidentally, this is a very nice anxiety exercise to try as well). After a couple of minutes, walk back to your work.

          Number 2. Create a routine.

          Sometimes, all you need to do is figure out the best times of the day you can dedicate just for writing. Figure out when it is exactly you feel the urge to write the most; it may be in the morning, or very late at night. You don’t even have to work on a specific project – just write. Scheduling, however, may not work for everyone. I know that it does not for me. But it is definitely something to try.

          Number 3. Disconnect from the internet.

          In a world that is so interconnected nowadays, sometimes it’s important to disconnect and regroup. In this day and age, we’re bombarded with so much new information daily that it is hard to keep up, and occasionally it can dry up those creative juices.

          Number 4. Pick an object.

          It may be a shoe, an apple, or that coffee maker that’s been making that sputtering noise for days and really been getting on your nerves in the morning when all you want is some caffeine. Just find that object and write about it.

          Number 5. Skip a section.

          If you’re really stuck – and trust me, we’ve all been there – just skip it. I know this seems counterintuitive, but perhaps your brain just isn’t ready to spit out the idea yet. If you know basically what is going to happen in the scene or section or part, you can write a note to yourself. Please, please, please, keep in mind that you aren’t copping out on the piece; I guarantee you that the idea of how to write it will come to you at the right time. There’s no need to force your brain. You’ll get there. In the meantime, start on a new section, a character study, or any other part that isn’t the part you’re stuck on. Because you can always come back to write it later.

          As a final tip, remember that these are only suggestions. If none of these work for you, KEEP TRYING. I know that there’s a masterpiece just waiting to come through that pen, pencil, or keyboard. I believe in you, everyone. Good luck.