Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Overcoming Writer's Block

Olivia Starke

The dreaded WB or writer's block. We've all been there--a blank computer screen stares us down mockingly. It can be frustrating, especially when your writing puts food on the table (and in feed pans as in my home.) What does one do?

For me it's taking a walk away from the pressures of writing. I take the dogs for a nature walk to the river, or spend time with the horses and kitties. Anything that gets me away from the pressures of putting words to paper (or that horrible blank computer screen.) Here's a short list I've compiled to also help out.

1) Why do you love to write? Sometimes it's important to remember the whys. Is it bringing characters to life? Is it bringing joy and escapism to others? Those of us who make it our living love the writing first, the paycheck second. Sit down and write a list of the things that make writing important to you.

2) Try out freewriting! Imagine your dream vacation, close your eyes and really put yourself there. What are the sights, the sounds, and the smells? What did you have for dinner there? Describe it in detail. Here's a great link for freewriting, at the bottom of the page is a place to pull up a blank page for a timed freewriting exercise.

3) What are your other talents? Do you like to paint, take photographs of nature, or cook? Jump into something else for a bit, something that you have confidence in. It'll give your ego a boost!

4) Exercise! Go for a brisk walk or jog with your dog. Grab your kids and your bicycles and hit the road. It'll take you away from your worries and it'll increase blood flow to the brain which boosts clarity of thought.

5) Meditate, pray, or visit your religious service of choice. It's good for centering your yourself.

6) READ. Reading a good book by your favorite author will take you out of your world and put you into the created world of someone else--the reason we write.

7) Break out of your usual genre. Are you known for your vampire trilogies? Perhaps you should give historical romance a shot.

8) Go to your local park, throw a blanket under a tree, and people watch. Go to the mall, walk through the department stores and eavesdrop on conversations. It's great for getting character ideas.

9) Grab your journal (or start one) and write about things that may be getting in the way of your creativity. Are you under stress? In an unsupportive relationship? Write about your thoughts and feelings, and see if you can get an emotional break through.

10) Volunteer, if only for a day--t'll bring good karma your way! Walk the pups at the shelter, or bag food at a food drive. Find something that brings positivity to others.

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