It happens to the best of us. One day you sit down at your computer, determined to finish that next chapter or to meet a deadline for an article when — bam! — your mind suddenly turns into a blank slate, your creativity abruptly leaves the room and your usually seamless connection between head, heart and typing fingers takes a hiatus. What to do when your blank computer screen stares ominously in your face while panic starts to set in over looming deadlines, paychecks and bills?
Here are five of my favorite ways to overcome the equality opportunity malady known as Writer’s Block:
1. Exercise – My favorite way to burn calories, tone muscle and release stress? Leslie Sansone’s Walk Away The Pounds DVD. See my review here. Not only will Leslie get your adrenaline pumping along with your heart (the most important muscle in the body), she’ll keep you moving with her genuine, effervescent personality, warm demeanor and radiant smile. Since Leslie motivates though sincere encouragement, not military-style intimidation, if you’re the kind of person who’s inspired to push your physical limits by working out with a serious-yet-nurturing coach, Leslie’s your go-to gal. Looking forward to trying out her latest DVDs soon!
2. Get Out In Nature – Whether you prefer the tranquil site of water, the majestic beauty of mountains, the vibrant colors of a flower garden or the breathtaking site of a towering evergreen, spending time in nature will soothe the soul and clear the creative channels. Taking at least a few minutes a day to spend outdoors will also reconnect you to the outside world, which is especially important since writing tends to be a solitary — and sometimes lonely — activity.
3. Keep A Journal – A great habit to get into for so many reasons, keeping a daily journal in which you make note of the things you’re grateful to be, do and have will keep your mind and spirit focused on the positive. It’s also a perfect place to “write out” all other distractions — such as the items on your “To Do List”, and to document your daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals. In short, whatever else in on your mind that has nothing to do with your current professional writing gig, or your own professional writing portfolio (which thankfully in the age of new technology, has transformed into a wonderful phenomenon known as a “blog”) belongs in your written journal.
4. Pray - – If you’re a believer in God, be sure to take the time to pray each day for guidance. During Lent, I use the daily meditations from The Word Among Us as a guide. I’ve also found inspiration in the Daily Word and other types of devotional books and magazines. Even if you just take about ten minutes or so before getting out of bed in the morning and retiring at night to close your eyes, give thanks and ask for help in fulfilling your projects to the very best of your ability, it will go a long way toward keeping the flow of creativity moving.
5. Phone A Friend/Relative – Sometimes when I’m really stuck and nothing else seems to work, I get up from my desk, pick up the phone and called a loved one. Whether it’s my mother or a good friend, I call someone whom I know for a fact supports me unconditionally and will be willing to lend an ear. In many cases, I don’t even mention the problems I’m having with completing a particular chapter or article; I just call to hear the person’s voice, find out how their day is going and remind myself that I’m blessed to be surrounded by so many caring people. A word of caution, though: Put a time limit on this lovely distraction so you don’t end up spending too much time away from your project. Talk with them just enough to recharge your creative batteries, then get back to work.
How do you overcome writer’s block?