“What should I write about?” I asked my four-year-old. I was on a deadline and battling a vicious case of writer’s block. Without a beat, he answered, “Snakes!” As tempting as his suggestion was, snakes are my one natural enemy, so I thanked him for his suggestion yet politely declined. What do you do when inspiration won’t hit? You write about writer’s block, naturally. Here are productive tips to get you out of your funk and put those words onto paper.
The tension and stress of sitting and staring at a blank screen is counter productive. Take a walk, try some jumping jacks, push-ups or yoga, or put on music and dance. The blood flow will help you wake up and think fresh.
Look to what inspires you
Play your favorite album, burn a scented candle, look at photos of people or places you love, or just talk with someone you care about. Inspiration may be hiding where you least expect it.
If your environment is too stimulating, change it up. Grab a quiet spot, make alone time, dim the lights and try white noise. A free website I love that helps me focus is simplynoise.com.
Make a list
Write a list of any and every topic you could write about, no matter how silly or ridiculous it may be, whether or not you have written on it before. Your train of thought may segue into new uncharted territory.
Consume a favorite
If you want a boost, brew some coffee, put the kettle on, or eat something truly satisfying. Feeding your soul can simply start with feeding your body. Eliminate a need to help increase focus.
Let it flow
Engage in stream of consciousness writing that brings your inner monologue onto paper. These often disconnected thoughts could be anything from how you feel in the present moment, to writing about a favorite memory to writing “I don’t know what to write about.” This honest, disjointed process can open the door to more organized words.
Procrastination, stress, anxiety, etc., won’t get the words out of your head and onto paper. Don’t just think -- do. Be a person of action. The best way to combat writer’s block is writing.
Keep in mind that a key to successful writing is the editing process, don’t let perfectionism stop you from starting. Rough drafts are just that - rough. So if you are blocked and have a hard time, first look at getting your words out. Much like a sculptor begins with a lump of clay, you too can shape and mold your words into something cohesive and effective.
These techniques can help provide inspiration for something truly representative of you. We all have to start somewhere. Just write.