Writer’s block: The dreaded complication any creative may face at any given time. Some of us simply remain idle until some burst of creativity hits.
I prefer to be more proactive.
Whether you’re a blogger, journalist, screenwriter, or even a published novelist, the most dangerous thing to do is give in to your creative block. Writer’s block can happen for any number of reasons – or no reason at all – but there is, in my opinion, no good reason to succumb to it. It’s a plague and will disable you…if you let it.
There’s no cut-and-dry cure (sorry to be misleading!)…at least not that I’m aware of. Different things work for different people…because we’re creative and eccentric. But through trial and error, I’ve come up with my own fool-proof plan to pull me out of my uninspired misery.
Step 1: Plan ahead.
This is probably difficult for most creative people, since we tend to “go with the flow.” Luckily, I was born to a Type A mother and was involved in activities my whole life, which forced me to keep a schedule so organized, the most OCD person would envy.
I digress: Plan to lose your mojo. Come up with a list of ideas. Think about what makes you feel inspired. Write it down. Thoughts, quotes, song lyrics…whatever works for you. Come up with prompts for when you’re feeling lost and then when you are, pull out your list, choose a random topic, and go.
Step 2: Check out.
Once you have an “idea,” leave. Grab a notebook and pen, but leave your cell phone and technology at home. Facebook will only distract you.
Take a long drive, if that’s what moves you. Then, find a quiet spot. A loud spot. Sit outside and listen to the wind. Go to a park. Visit a museum. Sit at a bar. And don’t allow yourself to leave until you’ve written something down…preferably, something you can use.
Step 3: Don’t you dare stare at the blank page.
…Trust me, that’s only going to make it worse. If you need to stare at something, look around you. Read your prompt, and then just start writing. Say nothing, just write your thoughts. Describe what’s around you. People watch. Pick someone, and turn them into a character.
Step 4: Breathe.
After all, your brain needs oxygen, and you’re working hard. You might get frustrated. Keep going.
Last week, I was so flustered and desperate to pull myself out of the pit. I got the idea for this post and started to write just to help myself. My first response to my “writer’s block prompt” ended up as an odd rant about being Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City. It wasn’t what I “should” have been writing, but it worked. I finished whatever crap it was that was on my mind, turned the page, and started this post.
My biggest issue (and usually the cause) with writer’s block is being my own worst critic. If you’re a perfectionist too, do yourself a favor and leave the critique at home. Grab a drink and save the editing for your published draft.
But whatever you do, don’t stop writing. Eventually, you’ll be yourself again.
How do you cure your creative block? Comment, e-mail, tweet, message – whatever – and let me know!