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Mix Things Up to Break Writer's Block
Contributor
Written by
Maria Murnane
September 2018
Contributor
Written by
Maria Murnane
September 2018

I hate writer’s block. It’s the worst! As far as I know, there’s no magic formula for curing this unfortunate affliction when it strikes, only various approaches to try until you find something that works for you

I recently had a conversation with a creative director at an advertising agency about the brainstorming process, which we agreed is similar in many ways to the writing process. When encountering a mental block, he finds it helpful to break his pattern. He said it’s human nature to fall into a routine, so shaking things up even a little bit can help unfreeze that creative energy. 

For example, try one of the following:

*Buy your morning coffee somewhere new

*Drive (or walk/subway) to your house/apartment/office via a new route

*Listen to a different radio station

*Go for a walk with your head on a swivel -- and observe!

*Drag yourself out of bed a half-hour early 

I liked my friend’s suggestions and plan to try some of them the next time I find myself staring at my computer screen, willing the words to magically appear without assistance from my fingers. Sometimes it’s easy to come up with ideas on the spot (snap fingers), but sometimes it’s not. When things just aren’t clicking for you, try mixing up your routine and see what happens.

Do you have any suggestions for how to deal with writer’s block? If so, please leave them in the comments. I’m all ears!

-Maria

 

Maria Murnane writes bestselling novels about life, love and friendship. Have questions? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments
  • Delin Colón

    It's all in how you look at it. If you start off by identifying your state as a "block," then you've already convinced yourself that you're stuck. Like life, thought is fluid, not static. If you think about it, you're not really at a blockage, but more at a crossroads. If you think of it this way, you're looking at possibilities and choices rather than seeing walls and dead-ends.
    So, if your pen is poised above your paper, and nothing comes out, it's because you have choices to make. This is your thinking-before-writing time. And the best way to think about it is to allow your mind to work on it subconsciously. How do you encourage that? Do some manual or physical chore. Keeping your body busy stimulates your psyche to get busy. Don't try to think about the project. Just focus on the present physical task. Stay in the present. Focus on what your hands are doing. Eventually, your mind will kick into gear and you'll see the possibilities before you.

    Just remember, if you believe you've hit a wall, you've created that wall; if you only see different paths in front of you, you've created choices. Worrying or fretting about it is anathema to getting past it.

  • Nicole Cruz Writing

    Oh my god yes! I hate writer’s block. What I do is I write something short, something that is not related in anyway to what I am writing. It could be anything like how green the plant near my window was. It is all a matter of finding the groove back. It also doesn’t hurt to. Actually stop and take in air for an hour or two.

  • Lisa Thomson

    Love these suggestions! Also, I read that you can take your current characters and make up a dialogue that has nothing to do with the story or novel you're working on. Or also, interview your MC. This process can unlock some of the creative energy. I've tried the first one and it was quite fun and got me writing again---even if I didn't include it in my story.

  • Yesim Cimcoz

    One of the best ways I have found to get over writers block is to do a 6 minute writing sprint. I discovered 6 minute writing in the first Gillie Bolton book I read. One of the ways she uses it to warm up her writing therapy sessions. Here is what I do. I open a book to anypage, close my eyes and put my finger on a word. Then I start my 6 minute writing with that word as the first word. The idea is to follow your monkey mind. See where it takes you, without trying to leash it in. So your might be ‘potato’ you start with that word and just write any thought that follows. If you really can follow your mind, not censor what you write, not try to correct it, you usually start with potato and end up with heel for example. The writing is non-sense usually but if you can do this for 6 minutes you have started writing, the rest just comes and soon you find yourself writing what you had planned to write.