In the middle of yesterday’s post I buried a not so subtle hint for readers to share the post. Several of you did. Many thanks. Maybe I should reconsider that whole “not directing” thing.
But mid-day on Wednesday, it struck me that I had no post outlined for Thursday (as in today). I imagined millions of readers showing up here and saying “Eh…he’s not so funny after all.” That’s okay; just hit the tip jar on the way out.
I didn’t really lose sleep over it not having a post ready. But one of my key points yesterday for promoting you own content was “Deliver what you promise.”
I did not promise another trip around the Writer’s Block. Which reminds me of an old gospel song about Moses where God says “Take another lap around Mt. Sinai, until you learn your lesson.”
Coming up with fresh, new and interesting content each day isn’t always easy. Sometimes I’ll just sit down at the keyboard and start typing whatever I’m thinking. Trust me, you will likely never see most of that in print. At least not as long as I’m alive. I’m pretty sure I won’t care after that.
If you maintain a blog, try to write for publications, or are writing a novel, writer’s block can be a very real challenge.
Here are some ways to overcome writer’s block. Do any of these work for you?
Take a walk. I’ve written before that walking is not only healthy, but it helps to clear the mind. I try to walk daily at lunch. In my day job (which allows me to have the nighttime jobs) I work downtown and have a great path to walk down by the river. Wednesday’s walk was shortened due to inaccurate information from my weather app regarding chance of precipitation.
Shut the door and eliminate distractions. Sign out of Facebook and Twitter and Instagram. Turn off phone notifications.
Like your bedroom, your writing room should be private, a place where you go to dream…The space can be humble, and it really needs only one thing. A door you are willing to shut. – Stephen King
Read. The best way to learn about writing and to be inspired is to read what others have written.
Free write. Just sit down and start writing or typing. As I mentioned above, you don’t have to show this to anyone. Write what you’re feeling. Write what you’re thinking. But just write. And, if you’re that paranoid, hit “delete” when you’re done. Then again, maybe you should save it for the next time you’re blocked.
Listen to music. I almost always have Pandora streaming. My choice of music varies. Sometimes it’s oldies, sometimes gospel, sometimes classical. And yes, sometimes Broadway. Don’t judge.
Eat something. Take a break. Have a snack. Make it a healthy snack. If that doesn’t help, then go back to step one (so to speak) and walk off the calories.
Brew some coffee or tea. Have a glass of wine. Your preference. But do it responsibly. While it’s often attributed to him, Hemingway did not actually say “Write drunk, edit sober.” Hemingway loved his food and drink, but not while writing.
Pick up the phone and call a friend. I know. Novel (so to speak again) idea. Don’t send an email; you may not get an immediate response. Call someone. Talk to them. They might just inspire you.
Read the news feeds. The real news feeds, not The Onion or Buzzfeed. Find an article that inspires you, or infuriates you, or makes you sad. Or does all three.
Create something. Draw or paint a picture. Get out your camera. Model with some clay. Dig out your kid’s Legos. Just something to make you think on a different plane.
Work on something else. Stuck on a particular project? Put it aside and work on something else. Then come back to it. If your deadline allows, sleep on it.
There are professional writers who would say that there is no such thing as “Writer’s Block” for a “real” writer. That writer’s block only happens to amateurs. I guess they’re experts because they’ve sold thousands of books. Which, in and of itself, does not make them good writers. I digress.
All I know is that sometimes I get stuck. Sometimes I just stare at a blank screen or a blank piece of paper and ask myself what I could possibly have to say that anyone would want to read.
Still, I have to write. I have to park my ample backside in a chair and put one word in front of the other. Sometimes, they’re good words. Sometimes they’re garbage. That’s why there are editors.
And recycle bins.
Ahem…you’re not leaving without sharing are you?