By Writer's Relief staff:
There are few words as disheartening to a writer as “writer’s block.” The mere thought induces dread and discomfort. And many of us get stuck when we hit that wall, not at all sure how to break through it.
But we think there are actual preemptive measures that a writer can take before writer’s block hits so that he or she is prepared to face down the blank page. Like any good survivalist, you’ll need to pack some items ahead of time to prepare for your next emergency. Here’s what you’ll need:
Map Of Your Surroundings
No one wants to be lost in the wilderness without a map—and the intimidation of a blank page in front of a blank mind is a pretty scary wilderness. Before writer’s block hits, do some scouting around your area and make a list of places you can visit for inspiration. You can add the local park, coffee shop, or even the horse farm that’s an hour away—anywhere you can reach in a reasonable amount of time. Whether people-watching or alone-time is your goal, you should list a variety of places that might jump-start your imagination when you’re in a tough spot creatively.
When writers are faced with “lights out,” they bring a flashlight under the covers. But writers deal with other kinds of darkness too—the writing life can be a solitary, and even lonely, lifestyle. It’s easy to fall into a gloomy mood and feel unsuccessful, especially for writers who make regular submissions and therefore receive lots of rejection notices. But if you can change your perspective, many things that make you feel crummy can actually lift your spirits.
Make a list of everything positive you can think of related to your writing. You can include anything as simple as “I’m forming good writing habits: I wrote for twenty minutes every day last week,” or as noteworthy as “My essay was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.” When you’re feeling down, pulling out that list of achievements will help you turn your attitude around and get back to writing.
Every standard emergency kit comes stocked with medicines for pain or infection to battle the everyday things that can go wrong. Likewise, your Writer’s Block Emergency Kit should be stocked with items that can fight off a writer’s worst ailment: the stress and anxiety caused by writer’s block. The more stressed you feel, the more stuck you’re likely to get, so keep a list of activities that relax or soothe your nerves: crossword puzzles, nature photography, jogging, baking, etc. Next time you’re stuck staring at a blank page and you feel your blood pressure rising, just choose something from your list and come back to writing when you’re more relaxed.
Smart adventurers travel with food and water—writers’ brains need sustenance too. Rather than food, though, your brain might be running short on inspiration. Before you run up against writer’s block, make a few playlists of songs you find inspiring. Try your best to find a variety of genres and styles so that you can have your pick of music to kick-start any mood from sullen to content to excited to angry. Writers also tend to find inspiration in writing they admire, so take note of passages in books and literary journals, and keep them close by to feed your brain and get your writing in motion.
Don’t let writer’s block stop you in your tracks. With the above items at hand, you’ll be ready to take on writer’s block next time it tries to interrupt your progress.
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