Writer’s block happens to all writers at some point. You have notes written down and article ideas on the desk in front of you, but nothing comes. You feel either congested or empty. You sit and stare at the keyboard.
Maybe you just have to change something up to break free. Here are some ideas how to get through writer’s block and back to writing.
1. Scan newspapers and magazines. You may do this already if you write short articles. Sometimes something will give you an idea you can use. What I do is think about how I can use an idea in a different way. When you use
this method, just scan, don’t read. Use it to write what you really want to say inside you. Maybe an article is about how to map out a Spring garden. Change it to “Plant peppers this year” and explain the options there.
2. In Writing Down the Bones, author Natalie Goldberg says you have to get through the clutter before you can reach what you really want to write about. You know the feeling, you find a million other things to do when you just need to sit down and start writing. An hour later, you are still fixing a loose screw, cleaning out the cat box, folding laundry and checking the weather. She advises to just sit down and start writing about anything or nothing, just keep your hand moving on the paper or fingers on the keyboard. Eventually you’ll break into something you want or need to write about, you just have to burn off all the congestion inside you. Real writing will come eventually.
3. If you are an article writer, look at your old articles and see if you can mine some gold out of what you have already written. A process to make a birdhouse could be broken down into house designs for different species of birds, or how to decorate birdhouses, or how to use paint schemes from victorian mansions to paint your birdhouses. Usually you can come up with a fresh idea or two in this way that can help you get through your dry spell.
4. Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way says that a writer is an artist and must care for his or her artistic spirit. When you are creating, you are at play, and your art must be approached with enthusiasm. Yes, you need discipline to make yourself sit down and write, but she says you also need to give your inner artist some playtime to recharge. Take your artist on a date. Go to an art exhibit, try a new restaurant, take a walk alongside a lake and pay attention to the little things you see. A yellow leaf in the water, a strange fruit in the market, the taste of a sauteed
mushroom. Refill your well, and don’t worry about the writing clutter now. If you planned to write 30 articles this month, write one. Be gentle with yourself and go step by step.
5. Go in the opposite direction. Rather than scanning magazines for ideas and mining your old work, just quit and don’t worry about it. Sit, close your eyes and let all the scattered thoughts in your head slow down until they stop.
Let thoughts go by, and just ask the universe to send you what you need at this time. The first time you try it, this method may take a while, but it will work. You’ll be surprised that once you have slowed your ‘Wild Mind‘ as Natalie Goldberg calls it, quiet thoughts and ideas will come to you. They couldn’t make it through the noise when you were working so hard trying to force yourself to come up with ideas. The quiet thoughts that come through
will seem more authentic, like what you were supposed to be writing. You may want to sit for 20 minutes each morning to ground yourself and see what comes.
I hope you were able to find a useful technique or two here that you can apply to your writing. Good luck to you.
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