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One of the scariest things about writing is when you sit in front of a blank page and you feel paralyzed. What am I supposed to write?
I stare at the blank page in front of my screen for a while. Isn’t it ironic, that when I am doing other things, like cleaning, cooking, or working in another thing, I get hundreds of ideas in my mind about what to write, but when it comes to the time to actually sit and write them, all those great ideas vanish away and leave me empty and hopeless?
I bet you have been in a similar situation. It’s frustrating, isn´t it? Seems like to experience this situation is a perpetual life sentence for a writer.
However, not everything is lost! Overtime, I have learnt to trick my blocked mind and actually get my writing done.
Here are a few things that have helped me a lot. I hope they can help you too!
1. Start to write a journal
When I need new ideas, or I don´t know how to continue in the middle of a writing project, I use the old method of the diary. I basically start to write everything that happened to me during the day. I sometimes even start by writing something like: “Dear, journal, I have no clue what I want to write”. It seems like after I wrote those words, they left my mind, so I get “free space” for new ideas to emerge and they manifest in my diary. Then I just keep writing until I feel better. Guaranteed, something of what you wrote will be the seed of the new idea you just needed to keep going with your writing project or to start a new one.
2. Record your ideas the moment they come
If you are washing the dishes and suddenly a brilliant idea comes to you, go get your mobile and get it recorded! Try the voice memo app and get all your ideas recorded when they come to you! Later you can use a speech to text app to get them transcribed. In the beginning, I was reluctant to implement this idea. I preferred the old-fashioned way: A proper writer has to always write, right? So I was carrying a piece of paper and a pen “just in case” something comes up and I can write it. In a perfect world that would work, but not when you are a mama of two small kids and you need to clean a table surface full of spaghetti sauce with one hand while doing acrobatic movements to feed your little one, which refuses to eat, with the other. In a matter of seconds, I can go grab my phone, push a button and start talking.
3. Just sit and observe. Then write what you observe
Sounds maybe a bit stupid, but it works. Just sit in front of the computer and if nothing comes, just start writing what you see. Maybe you have a nice painting in the front wall with a beautiful landscape; or if you look outside the window, you can see your neighbor taking out the trash, or going for a walk with the dog. Observe everything you see and start writing about it. Believe it or not, this practice has given me a lot of ideas in my writing process! At least, it helps you get rid of the “freeze” and you start to get more relaxed while writing. Your Muse likes to come and assist you precisely in those moments when you are more relaxed and at ease. This is the best time for her (or him) to whisper to your ear what he or she wishes to see!
4. Take long walks in silence
This is one of my favorite tactics. If I just cannot get anything out of my head to write one single sentence, I leave it. I take a break and go for a walk outside. I love to walk in the forest or in a place where there is plenty of nature, if possible. Just to contemplate the beautiful oak trees, the shiny little buttercup flowers that emerge from the ground in spring time; the amazing shapes that the different sizes of the tree branches leave in the sky when you look upwards towards the light… for sure something you observe or experience in your walks will give you an inspiration to write about. Do not forget to take a voice memo device or a little notebook and pen with you!
5. Take a nap
This is an old-known tactic, especially for artists, or people with highly intellectual jobs. Einstein, Edison and Newton were regular practitioners of this simple but highly efficient act. If you feel like you cannot spend a second more in front of the computer, or at the job at hand, just leave it for a moment and take a nap. A power nap of 20 minutes would be sufficient. Then you give time to your subconscious to keep working on the idea, while your conscious is asleep. If something makes “click” you will dream about it, or at last, when you wake up refreshed and ready, it will flow through you while you write. If it helped the greatest minds of the world, why wouldn’t it help you? It has certainly helped me. Try it out!
There are obviously many more things you can do to overcome the writer’s block, but those five I just shared with you are the most powerful ones I know. If you have more tips and tricks, please do share them with me in the comment section below! I would love to hear about your ideas 🙂
In the meantime, happy writing!