Writers get writers block. This isn’t a myth, but is instead a simple fact of being a writer. Writing is a creative process and, like all creative processes, much of the creativity takes place at the subconscious level. One of the byproducts of this fact is that writers will sometimes run into a mental “brick wall” where the blank page becomes the enemy and even the simplest good idea is a ghost. Don’t worry if this describes you or where your writing is right now, as even to the greats throughout history have had similar experiences.
So what are you to do if your writing skills and ability to generate new ideas, characters, plots and everything else that makes up the writing process now eludes you? First, don’t panic. Secondly, don’t begin stressing and thinking about the fact that you can’t seem to shake this block or lack of creativity!
In an odd way, writing has something in common in performance in sports. Frequently, professional sporting teams hire specially trained psychiatrists to work with their athletes. Why? So much of athletic performance is mental in nature. Now while there is not a direct parallel per se with writing, you can be sure that what you think about your own writing and your general state of mind has an impact on your final product.
As you may have guessed, the foundation of getting back on that “writing horse” is to adjust your mental approach to the game… just like a professional athlete that is in a slump. First ask yourself what the consequences are if you can’t seem to shake your writer’s block. Unless you have a concrete deadline or a very angry publisher and/or agent breathing down your neck, you don’t have the palpable pressure of worrying about time constraints. This is a very good thing, as this kind of pressure can make your job of tackling your writer’s block a good deal tougher.
Staying calm and not sitting in a chair, in the dark, at 2 am is a big step towards getting your writing Mojo back! Our next step may surprise some of you and that step is to begin meditating. Why meditation? Meditation will help you calm your mind, relax your body and may even help you change your perspective. Modern medical science has learned a great deal about meditation in recent years, and researchers and scientists have walked away quite impressed.
Meditation is so effective that it can actually decrease stress hormones quite appreciably. Meditation, listening to calming music or just getting out in nature (instead of glaring at a computer screen or a blank page) is good for you and good for your creative juices. So let’s sum up the process: calm down, don’t panic, realize that your subconscious needs time to generate new ideas and embrace the concept of relaxation.
Once you feel as though you are centered and calmer, only then should you begin working again. If at first you don’t find that you are having any success, again, don’t worry. It may very well come to you in time, so be patient.
Brainstorming is a great way for you to tap into your creativity and start generating new ideas. Brainstorming will work far better and you will get much more out of your brainstorming sessions if you go into your sessions with the right frame of mind.
There are many ways to approach brainstorming and finding what works for you is, of course, part of the key towards brainstorming success. Part of how you should approach brainstorming depends on how you feel. Do you want to work on character development, plot, structure or some other aspect of the creative process? This is a key point, and here is why. Since the writing process is highly interwoven and interdependent, if you have a breakthrough in one area, you may very well find that this breakthrough radiates out into other aspects of your creativity. Once you get that first creative spark, you might see all kinds of sudden progress erupt forward.
Mind mapping is another great way to generate some creative influence. Taking time to map out where you want to go with your writing can greatly increase the artistic side of your brain. Here is a list of “15 Great Mindmapping Tools and Apps” that can help you with your mind mapping sessions.
There is an intimate relationship between creativity and inspiration. As most writers already know, if there is no inspiration, there is likely not too much creativity either. The too concepts are closely linked and depend greatly upon one another. Likewise, you as a writer need both creativity and inspiration in order to crack your writer’s block open and begin fueling the creative process of writing once again.
All of the points that we’ve covered thus far don’t just apply to creativity, but also apply directly to inspiration as well. If you are clear headed and relaxed, you are much more likely to be able to see, recognize and feel inspiration when it does come to you. Now, take the time to meditate, relax and brainstorm your way to success!
Asking yourself why you want to write and why you want to work on a given project in particular is a great starting point for finding inspiration and reconnecting with your creativity. Once again, there is an intimate relationship between inspiration and creativity. If you can have a breakthrough in one area it will fuel the other. Once the process begins there usually will be a series of “chain reactions” that can fuel a long burst of creativity.
Since writing and creativity have a subconscious component, you may very well need to “step away” from the process for a while. Learning a new skill, even if its as simple as playing a new video game or learning to ice skate, can serve to distract your mind and let your subconscious go to work. One of the main points of this article is that the more your push to tackle and conquer your writer’s block, the more difficulty you may face. Some things are not meant to be forced open. If you do force them open, the end results may not be what you want, if you get anything at all.
Inspiration often comes when you change up your perspective and how you see your world around you. Sometimes this is as simple as sitting on the ground for a day instead of using a chair, and other times changing your perspective may mean moving thousands of miles away and sitting on a beach. Creativity and inspiration are funny that way.
I recently did an interview with Bryan Cohen all about creative writing, click here to watch the video interview!
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