Scaling the Block

Credit/Bill Watterson

Credit/Bill Watterson

Hello, my dear readers!

There’s good news and there’s bad news. The good news is it’s a brand new year and we have a 30-day grace period in which to break our New Year’s resolution. The bad news is this week, I’ve come face to face with an old foe that feeds the subtle sadness.

Writer’s block.

It’s a common problem, to be sure, but it’s unwelcome nonetheless. Perhaps if I go over a few tips, I can snap out of this writer’s block and help you along the way, too!

1. Take a Break

I know this sounds a lot like procrastination, and I realize I’ve ghostwritten two books railing against the subject, but bear with me.

There are a couple of different schools of thought when it comes to taking a break from your writing and overcoming the dreaded block.

On one hand, Neil Gaiman had this to say:

“Suggestions? Put it aside for a few days, or longer, do other things, try not to think about it. Then sit down and read it (printouts are best I find, but that’s just me) as if you’ve never seen it before. Start at the beginning. Scribble on the manuscript as you go if you see anything you want to change. And often, when you get to the end you’ll be both enthusiastic about it and know what the next few words are. And you do it all one word at a time.”

On the other hand, Chuck Sambuchino has another approach. When stepping away from your writing, you should do something creative – woodworking, painting, scrapbooking…whatever makes you happy and gets your creative brain moving. The key is to exercise that part of your brain and ultimately your writing flow will start back up again.

2. Try some brain food.

When I get writer’s block, I get stressed, and when I get stressed, I eat any junk food I can manage to scrounge in my condo. It’s not good for me or my waistline!

Some of you might turn to alcohol or caffeine or smoking or have your own respective vices; whatever the case, in times of stress, it’s not uncommon to turn to these vices for stress relief, self-destructive though they may be.

Robbie Blair of Lit Reactor suggests eating food that’s high in proteins and fatty acids like eggs, fish, poultry and beans – in moderation, of course. Blair says the dopamine boost from such foods are healthier than the adrenaline and dopamine you might get from scarfing down a pack of Oreos or bathing in a pot of coffee, neither of which I recommend.

3. Try Freewriting

What is freewriting, you ask?

You’re writing without rules. Take five minutes and write without stopping. Don’t think, don’t take a break, just write. This can let you clean up the clutter in your mind and maybe give you a key word or phrase to spark inspiration again.

Writing this particular piece has inspired me to explore a new topic. Next week, we talk about freewriting!

For more reading on how to attack the block, you can visit the pages listed above.

How do you conquer your writer’s block? Discuss in the comments below! 

Be sure to check out my portfolio and professional site here!  Don’t forget to like, comment and subscribe to the blog if you like what you see. 

Happy freelancing and we’ll talk again next week!

– Adam


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