We've all experienced it. Sitting in front of a blank page, fingers on the keyboard but nothing happening. You can almost hear the sound of your digital clock ticking away the seconds, but still nothing flows out of you. Suddenly you have a hint of movement so you start a sentence, erase, start again, erase... not good enough! Frustrated, you begin the process of "looking" for some form of inspiration or encouragement that'll help you put one word in front of the other. Before you know it, an hour has passed and all you've done is watch videos on Youtube, read your Twitter feed and/or chuckled at some Facebook posts.
Another day of wasted effort filled with nothing to show for it. Ugh.
Writers have been haunted by this affliction for millennia, struggling to find a way to start off those stories that have burned in our brains for years. Or, worse yet, you're mired in the middle of an incomplete work of art and all of the steam you started out with has long since leaked from your brain, leaving you feeling empty and clueless about where to go to from here.
Nowadays, you have a drawer (computer folder) filling up your hard drive with half completed best sellers and a painful desire to get them out there, but no way to achieve that grand goal.
I know the feeling, but I also know how to stab it in the heart.
So, I'm going to share with you my top three methods of beating writer's block... to death. I cannot guarantee my three methods will work for you, but I can certainly say that trying something is always better than staring at a blinking cursor for a hour. So, without further ado, here are my Top 3 Ways to Beat Writer's Block!
1 - Write
No, I haven't lost my marbles (at least I don't think I have). Writing is the best way to end the torture of writer's block. I know, it sounds counter-intuitive, but it's the most proven method of crushing writer's block!
Instead of watching that vertical line blink in and out of existence on your writing program, put something down, put anything down, just don't do nothing. Sure, the prose will probably suck, but the point isn't to write life-changing sentences, it's to write anything to get those wonderfully creative juices flowing. And remember the most important part, you can't edit a blank page.
2 - Exercise
A healthy body produces a healthy mind is a truism. If you are sick, tired, scared or just plain not feeling well, it's virtually impossible to even think of sitting in front of a computer and typing away at a comedy (or anything for that matter). So, the healthier body you can create for yourself, the more you'll be able to focus on things outside of the way you feel inside. Not feeling well is the kind of distraction that often pushes our conscious minds towards survival and towards addressing our day to day crap, not typing out that meaningful sex scene between your vampires and psychics. So, if you sit in a sick body for long enough, you can actually fall into a creative stagnation. Interestingly enough, all of our best ideas are generated by the part of our brains that aren't focused on survival, but on simply looking at the world and ourselves without worrying about our actual physical state.
Now, a good way to quiet that logical side of your mind and to strengthen your body to the point where you're no longer concerned about it, is to push it to or close to exhaustion. Heck, just making your body work just a bit more than sitting in front of a screen can improve cognitive function! So get out there and go for a walk in the woods, go for a jog or hit the weights hard and see where some exercise will take you and your stories!
3 - Meditation
Much like Writer's Block busting method number two, meditation is a great way to silence that part of your mind that's focused on keeping track of your bills, cooking dinner, where are the kids, what time it is, what you need to do before bed, etc. Sure, all of that is important in regards to keeping your life up and running, but those thoughts do absolutely nothing for your creativity. In fact, all of the brain chatter actually stunts your ability to write. Meditation on the other hand focuses your mind inward and helps you quiet those day-to-day needs, doubts and fears and instead puts you into the now both physically and mentally.
With your new clarity born from those quiet moments, you can look at your work through your mind's eye and see where the stagnation is centered. Can it be your fear that you're not good enough stunting your performance? Are you not focusing on the current story and drifting into something that's pulling your interest? Are you just stressed about a life situation and having a hard time allowing your creativity to whisk you away and into the wonderful world you've created? Whatever that question is, obtaining clarity will benefit you and move you towards finding those answers.
So there you have it, my three ways to beat writer's block. Hopefully, you'll have as much success crushing your writing foe as I've had.
Many blessings! And remember, NO EXCUSES. JUST WRITE.