Weird Ways to Beat Writer’s Block
The Struggle is Real
Creativity is fickle. It requires a specific kind of energy, which is a combination of motivation and drive. Motivation is the reason behind your writing. What are you trying to accomplish? Who is it for? What does it mean to you? Drive often takes the shape of inspiration for us creative types. It’s that feeling you get when you see a great movie, read an amazing novel, or travel somewhere new. It’s the sense of wanting to put something fresh into the world and to explore possibilities.
Motivation and drive must work together for creativity to peak. When either one falls by the wayside, you’ll find yourself struggling to get words onto the page. No amount of force will make it better, which you’ll discover quickly if you try to plow through your creative ennui.
Instead, try stepping outside your normal routine. Leaving your comfort zone is a great way to shake up stagnant energy and shift your mind back toward creativity, and to rediscover what keeps you motivated and driven.
How to Get Your Flow Going
Get In the Kitchen
Cooking and baking aren’t easy for everyone, but food is a universal source of pleasure and inspiration. Consider the elements that parallel writing, such as the smell of food (drawing in your reader), the variable list of ingredients (characters), the mixing and combining (sentence structures), the baking or cooking process (revision), and getting to savor the finished product (manuscript completion). Often a few days in the kitchen is enough to flip that stuck switch in your brain, and to get your mind to associate with what successful creation feels like.
Writing is a very sedentary and internal process, which can easily stagnate your brain’s ability to process efficiently. Getting outdoors is one of the simplest ways to combat this. Go for a hike and absorb the beauty of nature, and while you’re moving, imagine a story unfolding in your surroundings. What kind of historical fiction might take place there? What sort of fantastical creatures could lurk in the trees? What might it look like far in the future? If hiking isn’t an option, stroll around the block and imagine the people who live in the houses around you. Get in the garden and spend time noticing the birds and insects that inhabit your yard. Between the fresh air and the sensory input, you’ll quickly find your head clearing.
Go For a Drive
Sometimes creative blocks are due to a lack of movement in your life, whether physical or emotional. Try jumping in the car and just hitting the road. Drive to the next town, take a stunning scenic route, visit your favorite overlook, or hit the freeway and let your whims navigate. Crank up some music, turn on a favorite podcast, and let the movement of the road stir up your inner stagnation. Often just the act of moving can get your creative juices flowing again.
This might sound unusual, but sometimes writer’s block is due to feeling insecurity or lack. Sitting in a gratitude meditation for 15 minutes can help you realize how much is going well for you. Find a free guided meditation online, or just simply sit in a relaxed posture, feet on the floor and arms uncrossed, and tick off a list in your head. For example, you might say: “Thank you for the warm weather today. Thank you for my dog. Thank you for my health. Thank you for the brilliant article I read about writer’s block today.” You get the picture. As much as I encourage you to try this, if it feels a bit strange, you can also write it down in a journal. But practicing gratitude every day changes your brain and makes you feel good, and feeling good is like a battery for creative energy.
I know, I know, you don’t want to hear this. But seriously, get up and spend half an hour doing yoga, going for a run, lifting weights, riding a bike, or whatever will get your heart rate up. You’ll return to your writing desk with a clear head, a happy body, and you’ll have shaken loose some of your stuck energy. If you spend long days writing or working at a desk, take a break every hour and move for 5–10 minutes. Sedentary behavior is a creativity killer.
Get a Pet
If you have a furry beast in your house, get on the floor and play with them. Hold them, smooch them, talk to them like a dope, and enjoy their company. There’s a reason hospitals and caregivers use pets for therapy. They boost your mood and cleanse your mind of the doldrums. If you don’t have a pet, consider getting one, or find someone who doesn’t mind you entertaining theirs. Sometimes an animal’s unflappable joy is enough to restore your drive.
Go to Bed
Last but not least, sometimes you just need to step away from your writing. Before you go to sleep at night, ask yourself what needs to happen next to get your story going. Don’t think about the answer. Just ask the question, and your subconscious mind will start working on an answer while you sleep. Chances are, you’ll have a bolt of inspiration in the morning. I kid you not, Abraham Lincoln did this when he was faced with a conundrum, and it worked for him. It might work for you too.
Don’t Give Up
This list is brief, but worth considering if you find yourself too often in the throes of writer’s block. The important thing to remember is every writer occasionally gets stuck. Don’t give up on your writing or your work. You’ll get there.
If you need more ways to get inspired, try reading books or short stories similar to what you’re working on. Watch a weird movie. Try joining a writer’s circle for tips on how to move forward with your particular story.
If you keep moving, keep looking for new things in the world, and keep going back to your writing desk, you’ll eventually get there.
For more on creative inspiration, check out this article: