Writer’s Block - It’s Not All In Your Head
Contributor
Written by
Zyana Morris
October 2017
Contributor
Written by
Zyana Morris
October 2017

Writer’s block is basically every writer’s biggest obstacle. The lack of clarity and direction in your brain becomes a hindrance when you’re attempting to write but is it really all to do with just your emotional health? Many years of research have proven that mental and physical health are interconnected. We’ve learned to treat autistic children through engaging them in physical activities. We have established a strong link between regular exercise and lower levels of stress. It’s clear that our physical health has a major influence on our emotional well-being; so it is possible that working on our physical health can help with writer’s block? The answer is yes, it can.

There isn’t one specific cause for writer’s block. It can happen for a variety of reasons that induce feelings of stress. It can be anything from the bills piling up, a rocky relationship or even just a crowded space that stops you from thinking clearly. The worse is when you begin to stress about not being not being able to write because then you’re just stuck in a vicious circle.

Writer’s block goes hand in hand with stress and even depression. While some of the best pieces of art may come from the darkest times, writers know that in order for their creative juices to flow, they need to be in happy space emotionally. Stress and depression fog your clarity and it begins to reflect in your writing. Scientists have found that when individuals are depressed, the choices of words they use to express themselves are also negative.

Unless you want to upset your readers with your negativity, combat your writer’s block with physical exercise.

Why Exercise Works

Why exercise works

Exercise helps writer’s block in several ways. Firstly, it serves as a distraction for your brain. Your brain gets busy with handling the internal changes your body is going through as you exercise. Secondly, exercise has a direct impact on your hormones. The levels of “stress-hormone” cortisol are reduced as you exercise while “happy hormones” such as serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins are released in your system. The shake-up of chemicals in your body on its own will allow you to think more clearly.

Exercise also gets your heart-rate up and your blood pumping. As you increase your blood flow, more oxygen is carried into your brain. Spending some time exercising should leave you feeling energized and ready to write.

Running

Running

A novelist by the name Haruki Murakami made fascinating connections between running and writing in his book, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. According to him, most of what he’s learnt about writing came during his everyday runs.

Take a moment to think about it, how often do we run with a blank mind? We don’t. Running really is a productive way to let your mind wander. When you let your thoughts flow during a run, you still have some direction and you have an end goal. You’re not wandering aimlessly, therefore, your mind doesn’t wander aimlessly. You’ll find that you’re better able to string together ideas and translate them into sentences when you’re running. The thought process flows much more smoothly when running compared to when you’re sitting behind a desk.

Many writers such as novelist Louisa May Alcott and Henry David Thoreau have also claimed that running regularly has helped their creative process.

Yoga

Yoga

Writing blocks mainly occur due to distractions in your mind and this is where doing yoga helps. The aim of yoga is to help you achieve mindfulness, increase awareness of your body while toning your muscles and optimizing your breathing.

Yoga provides you with clarity by helping you silence all that noise that becomes a hindrance when you’re trying to write. It helps you direct your thought so you only concentrate on what is most important.

Try combining yoga techniques with your writing. A writer buddy of mine had found a technique that integrated Vinyasa yoga with writing. Every time she was faced with writer’s block, she took a deep breath and as she exhaled, she wrote whatever came to her mind. It didn’t matter if initially didn’t make sense. She did this for a few breaths, by the time she got to her fourth or fifth breath, the sentences began to make sense and the ideas began to flow.

The same friend also took short breaks to stand on her head for a bit to get that extra oxygen to her brain. If you can’t pull off a headstand, try doing a downward dog. Anything that gets the blood flowing to your head will work.

Doing regular yoga will also enhance your posture. Bad posture is another physical defect that impairs your brain’s ability to function optimally. By improving your posture, you’ll reduce pressure on your shoulders and spine which in turn help you fight fatigue and inflammation in your body.

Intense Cardio

Intense Cardio

You don’t need to do long sessions of cardio to get your blood pumping. Doing intense cardio for 2 minutes is more than enough to get your heart-rate up. The next time you experience writer’s block, put on an upbeat song and do a quick burst of intense cardio. This can be anything from jumping jacks to jogging on the spot – as long as you give it everything you got for those 2 minutes. You’ll love how it makes you feel afterward.

Writer’s block happens for many reasons and there are a variety of ways to combat it. Everyone handles it differently but if you haven’t already given exercise a shot – you should definitely try it!

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