The last year has been difficult for everyone and we are all doing our best to deal the best we can, one day at a time. For me, as a writer and a parent to three school-age children who are doing school at home, this has meant a shorter window for being able to write and a higher level of stress. I find when I am overwhelmed and stressed it is more difficult for me to concentrate leading to writer’s block. This may not be the same for everyone, but for me, this is my biggest road block to moving forward with a story I am working on. I have found it is often the “to do list” in my head that significantly adds to the stress (I’ve only come to this conclusion recently).
With this realization, I have tried several mental tricks to make my mind… mind. Most of them didn’t work. For instance, berating myself into submission. This, of course, didn’t work. I, also, just tried forcing myself to sit there. I ran what I had already written through my mind to give it a jump start. This worked some time, but mostly, it was unsuccessful. I was getting really frustrated.
“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet has been turned on.”Louis L’amour
So what works?
I remembered a writing conference I attended while I was still attending Full Sail University. One of the teacher had done a workshop on brainstorming. She started the workshop by having us do a few minutes of what she called a “brain dump”. You put down on paper everything that is floating around in your head from “to do lists”, unprocessed feeling, frustrations, random thoughts related to nothing, etc. She had only set a timer for two minutes because of the short time we had in her workshop, but they suggested doing this for ten to fifteen minutes before a writing session.
“You can’t think yourself out of a writing block; you have to write yourself out of a thinking block.”John Rogers
I will admit I don’t always do this before every writing session. However, when I am really struggling to focus, all my thoughts are scattered, and I cannot enter back into my story this is where I turn. I take a deep breath, set my timer, and just purge. When I am done, my mind is clear, and it is much easier to connect with my characters once again.
Now, I am not saying this is a full proof way to always avoid writer’s block. It is, however, one of the best ways I have found to deal with writer’s block. It is also effective at reducing my stress level.
What do you do to fight writer’s block? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Featured photo by Jennifer Brewer via Canva
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