By Deb Hockenberry Wikipedia defines writer’s block as a condition primarily associated with writing, where an author loses the ability to produce more work or experiences creative slowdown. You never know how long your block is going to last. It’s been known to clear up in a few hours and last a few months. Could this also be called the writer’s struggle since it happens to everyone who has chosen the writing path? A writers struggle sounds much more realistic since when it strikes, it really is a real struggle to get something written or get a work-in-progress just right. We put our butt-in-chair, turn on the computer, and try to write. As hard as we try, nothing happens … nothing at all. It’s like hitting your head against a brick wall! Who among us, who has experienced this, and has instead gone to Facebook to play a game or garden, or whatever else interests you? I admit it, I’m guilty of this, myself. Believe it or not Facebook games and gardening are just two ways to banish this demon. Here are some other ways:
Join an online or physical conference in the genre that you write in. Brainstorm with these other writers. You’ll be surprised at just how freeing this is just to be with likeminded people. I’ve found this out myself and have more finished picture book manuscripts to prove it! Work on another WIP. This frees your mind to think about something else besides that WIP you’re stuck on. Read a book in the genre you’re writing for. Reading books in your genre gives you so many ideas on how to continue on with your story. It can also provide the ‘aha’ moment whether or not to toss that manuscript and start all over again. If this happens, you’ll be able to visualize your story exactly as it should be written. Read a book to review. Again, make sure it’s in the genre you write for. You’re giving your brain permission to focus on something else.
Take a day off to go to the library, Barnes & Noble, or another book store. In this case, like most of the others below, you’re granting your brain permission to just relax. Are you a freelance editor or proofreader? If you are, put your WIP away and do that. Go for a walk outside (if the weather’s nice enough) and don’t forget to take a notebook and pen! You never know when your writer’s block/struggle will clear up and you get an idea. If the weather isn’t nice enough to go outside, exercise indoors. Nothing clears your head and reboots your energy like a work out. This does work! Visit with a neighbor. There’s nothing as good as a visit with a friend. Can’t visit that friend because of the nasty weather mentioned above? Call him/her. A good talk with a friend gets your mind off of everything else. Go to the dog park and play Frisbee with Fido. Again, you’re freeing your mind. Cook that new recipe that you just clipped out of the magazine. Take a good look at the list above. I realize some of these things on the list might seem are silly, but they have something in common: focus on something else for a while. It does wonders. It might be that it might take a week or more to get your muse back again. That’s fine if it does. Take that time off to do other activities you enjoy. Concentrate on you during this time.