Writer’s block as defined on Wikipedia is a condition, primarily associated with writing as a profession, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work. I’m convinced that we all have faced a writer’s block at some point of time or the other. The severity of the block could be of varying intensity. It could range from not being able to figure out what’s next in the story after you’ve done half of it, viewing your work to be of inferior quality and not worthy, to not knowing what to write at all. I have personally believed that lack of inspiration is one of the major reasons why I face a writer’s block besides other reasons. The lack of the spark, that childish excitement within the heart.
Reasons could be many, but getting out of a writer’s block and be able to start creating beautiful collection of words arranged in a manner that makes it valuable is surely not easy. I have tried a lot of things over the years to come out of a block whenever I face one. Numerous articles are published on the internet suggesting ways of getting out of a writer’s block (and this one is going to be one more). However, this is not another instructional post. I am sharing a few things that I have found to help myself come out of a writer’s block more often than not.
So, here is the list of 5 things that I offer you all to try out the next time you go into a block:
1. Go for a walk, run or workout
I sit on my desk for extended periods of time like the most of us. And since the only physical thing I do all that while is move the fingers on the keyboard, I start living inside my head. I almost forget I have a pair of beautiful organs called legs. When I am not able to find that spark to light the fire of creating any new work, I go for a run. I prefer running outdoors and not on the treadmill. Running helps clear my head and the endorphin rush resulting from the physical exercise gets me that natural feel-good high. Also running outside in a park or a jogging track has its own charm. I come back from a run energized and feeling great about myself. And often during the shower after a run I get my brain flowing with ideas and inspiration.
2. Write – literally. Not type.
Most of the people reading this post and myself are writers who don’t literally write. We type. We are the QWERTY generation and writing on a notepad with a pen is something most people don’t do. We see a lot of people carry their laptops to the park and write there. So when I have a block, I have tried this a lot of times – getting my notebook and start scribbling. And scribble anything, not necessarily something useful. This exercise helps me get connected to my roots. We as kids did not have computers throughout the major part of our school days. We just had fancy pens and notebooks to boast. But we still had endless imagination, a wish-list of things which really mattered and most importantly that spark. The spark which led us to do every little thing with immense passion, and made us believe that the wildest of dreams could come true. It is that spark I believe we lack when we face a block.
Note: For those who already write with pen on paper, this point is irrelevant. I am sorry you all have just 4 relevant points in this article.
3. Watch your favorite movie once again
Another very effective way of coming out of a writer’s block for me has been watching my favorite movies again. It is said that a really good story has something new to give you every time you go through it. I believe that is the case with the really good movies as well. There’s a reason why we can watch some movies over and over again, and not get bored. It’s because they give us something new each time we watch them. Whenever I face a block, I try to relax and come out of the discomfort. What better way to do it than watch a great movie? But at such a time when I am having a writer’s block and trying to cope with that, I don’t take the risk of watching a new movie. Rather I take out the collection of the best movies I have and pick one from there. Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris has been my all time favorite in the never-tired-of-watching list. Small little things in this kind of movies can spark an inspiration that we keep seeking. And when you do watch a movie that you’ve watched before, watch it like you’ve not – from start to end, without using the seek bar. And for that, it has to be a really nice movie and you gotta love it like no other.
4. Go through your collection of favorite quotes
We all love quotes. Quotes are short, crisp and say a lot more than the number of words that it’s consisted of. And I am sure all those who write or at least try to write (like me), do have a collection of their favorite quotes of their favorite people. Going through my collection of quotes, I often realize that there are so many of them that I don’t remember all the time, but I so love them. Reading a few quotes from the old collection or sometimes a couple of new ones often give me a newer perspective on things. I realize, this one sounds quite trivial, but it does help me getting that spark of inspiration when coupled with a cup of black coffee. I urge the readers to try this one out the next time you need a boost (the beverage can be of your choice), and share their experience. On that note, I give you one of my favorite quotes by Ernest Hemingway, my most favorite writers of all time: “Write drunk; edit sober.”
5. Sit in silence
Sitting in silence is one activity which is unforgivingly underestimated. It is my strongest belief that all the answers that we seek, all the inspiration we need, lie within ourselves. It is like the things we seek are radio waves and we are the radio transceivers. We just need to tune ourselves into the right frequency to start listening to the music of life where all the answers lie. Sitting in silence in a room or any other quiet place helps us get in touch with our inner selves. In the maniac rush of today’s world with all the deadlines and numbers hanging on top of our heads like bare swords throw us off our balance as reasonable and creative beings. Sitting in silence helps us realize the power of our thoughts and imagination, our endless capabilities as human beings. Most importantly, it helps us think. Think in the truest possible sense of the word. As René Descartes has famously stated, “Je pense, donc je suis” which translated to English means: I think, therefore I am. Sit in silence, with yourself and think. And if you do it right, you’ll find all your answers and all the inspiration you need.
And the above points can prove to be pretty useful not just in the case of writer’s block, but also in any other situation in life where we find ourselves at the end of the road or hitting the wall.
How often do you end up with writer’s block? Have you found out your own ways of dealing with writer’s block or any other mental block?