If you’ve been a writer for more than five days, writer’s block has attacked you. That dreaded black hole of non-creativity sucks your brain into it at unpredictable intervals. Especially if you’re working under a deadline, you can’t afford time to sit and gaze at whiteness—you must get words on the page. But how do you pry your stubborn muse out of the black hole, and start producing again?
Here are my four tricks that work—nearly—every time:
1. I pray. Sounds too simple, I know. But it works. Instead of searching the dusty corners of my weary brain for words or ideas, I go to the One who created words, who is the Word made flesh, and ask for help. Mostly my prayers sound like this: “Help me, please. Give me words. Empower me to get my message across, Lord.” We don’t need to impress the King. He already wants to help us. He’s just waiting for us to ask.
2. I step away and do something mindless for a bit. Fold laundry. Bird watch. Pull weeds. Anything that requires little thought relaxes my tied-in-knots mind, freeing it to produce again. I must be careful I don’t step away too long, though. More than an hour of mindlessness can lead me to procrastinate. But a short break often motivates my brain into working mode again.
3. I free write. Remember this exercise from eighth-grade English class? I use it still, with excellent results. If I need an idea for an article, a hook for an opening, or the best ending for a story, I open a blank document and let my fingers dance. I type whatever thoughts breeze in, not stopping to edit. I’ve never made it to the end of the page before the perfect idea, hook or ending pops out and I’m stylin’ once again.
4. I read a book or article written by an author whose voice I admire. Something about reading superb writing causes the imaginative juices to bubble and boil, until they overflow into my heart and release my imprisoned muse. I may need to read only a paragraph, a page, or a chapter before I come out of my frozen brain state. Once it worked with a single phrase.
Did I miss any? What do you do to overcome writers block in your neighborhood?