Writer’s Block Is Not Terminal

Writer's Block

Writer’s Block is not terminal although it certainly does feel that way when you are in the middle of  one.   Deemphasizing the block and increasing your awareness of when you are in an optimal writing zone is key to unlocking your block.  If you haven’t been in a successful writing zone for a while, consider one or more of the following:

Extreme Makeover: Create an environment that will signal clearly you are in a “Writing Construction Zone.”  This may include a special room or location in your home, a reserved room in the library or someplace else, special music, or wearing a favorite shirt, etc.   Author Maya Angelou accomplishes this by renting a hotel room for a day. She carries a writer’s tool box with her that includes things like her favorite glass of sherry , Roget’s Thesaurus and The Bible.  She creates an environment that signals to her, it’s time to get serious about writing.  You cannot copy an environment.  Rather, it’s important to create your own and know what gets you going.

Block off time on your calendar for writing.  Similar to exercising, muscles are developed as a result of consistency in your habits.  It is hard to stick to a haphazard schedule and getting back on track after slacking off for any period of time is tough. Writing is very similar.  It is a muscle that has to be developed.  Try to stick as close as you can to a fixed writing schedule and play it towards your strengths.  For ex. I prefer writing in the mornings and also create mini deadlines because the pressure of a fixed timeline fits with my working style and keeps me on task.

Just write. Write about things that you are passionate about to get your juices flowing.   We far too often get stuck because we allow our mind to fast forward in advance.  We are afraid of the end product before the first word is penned.   We worry that it will not turn out perfectly or we are overly analytical questioning which direction to take the piece or a character.  Just write.    It may not turn out perfectly but you can’t improve anything if it isn’t written down. 

Sleep your way to the top.  Getting plenty of rest each night will ensure a super sharp and clear mind. Increasing your sleeping by just 1.5 hours will increase your alertness by 32% according to a WebMD feature.

Surround yourself with other people that are jazzed about and value writing.  You will be amazed at how your writing will grow leaps and bounds and sharpen over time just by being actively involved with others that share a common interest.  I’m a part of a writing group and I’ve learned more from this group than I did all of those expensive english classes my parents paid dearly for me to attend.
So, the next time you find yourself in a block. Be honest about where you are and don’t allow yourself to stay in this space too long. “Easy reading is damn hard writing. “ Writer’s Block may find itself appearing in your home; think of it as a pop quiz and a gift to assess what needs to change to get you back in your groove. I would love to hear your thoughts about your writing blocks and how you get through them.  Please post your tips or experiences below.

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About Barbara McAllister

Barbara McAllister has a passion for writing that was dormant for a while but receiving her "pink papers" from a major corporation kicked her writing into gear. She currently works her day job as a Foundation Program Officer. When she isn't working, she spends time in Rocky Point Mexico taking in the smooth sounds of the Sea of Cortez.

Comments

  1. Eric Bahle says:

    Good stuff. I like the sound of that writer’s tool box. Might have to get me one of those.

  2. It’s like dealing with a willful child, you just have to outlast them with whatever strategies work best for you.

  3. @Eric -I need a tool box also. The sherry seems to work. I may have to try that just once
    @Rose-great analogy and I’ll visualize a teenager the next time I’m in a writer’s block.