Clearing your creative block

If you are currently facing a creative block, I feel you! It is almost inevitability a fact of life that we dread but still have to face up to it. So today’s post will be about some ways that I take to approach my inner monsters when they arrive.

A writer’s block for myself is the inability to crystallize ideas into a coherent or logical flow of words. Ironically, it is not affected by the amount of distractions around me for I am the kind of writer who could multitask – write my article while surfing Facebook, reading news articles and listen to music all at the same time.

But there are certain moments where even after I remove all external distractions to focus my attention only on writing, I could still end up typing, deleting, undoing and redoing my sentences, and having ideas floating all over the place.

So here are my top six ways of busting my writer’s block:

1. Adrenaline rush
I like to run or cycle to get rid of all the mental clutter. Exercising refocuses my attention to simpler, more basic things such as my thumping heart, breathing rate, burning muscles and sweat dripping down my face. The feeling of reconnecting with my existence can be liberating and down-to-earth.

2. Procrastinate
Stalk your friends on Facebook. Watch mindless YouTube videos! Do anything that will take your eyes and mind away from the unfinished article. I know how tempting it could be to convince yourself that if you persist long enough in front of the computer, you might reap the rewards. But it never works. Come back only with a fresh pair of eyes and words will flow much quicker.

3. Sleep
Sleep gets the brain ticking and chiming away. True story.

4. Caffeine
Depending on what rocks your boat, but just the smell of freshly brewed coffee gives me the gratification that I need. After a cup of the heavenly beans, I am usually on a roll.

5. Read something
Tickle your brain with something completely irrelevant. Light reads like magazine or entertainment articles might work sometimes. I will turn to inspirational reads during other times. Right now, I am on Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road,” and it is such a free-spirited novel that it liberates my mind.

6. Listen to your mood
If you are not in the right mood, there is absolutely no point in forcing yourself to squeeze your creative juices out. Do whatever to make yourself comfortable, be it eating, taking a swig or burning essential oils, before getting creative.

Being creative is like adhering to the basic principles of brewing a cup of good coffee, as described in the advertisement linked below.

“Like all good methods, simplicity is its magic.”

As a side note, coffee aficionados should watch this fascinating promotional material made in the 1960s that pays homage to the much beloved drink! Maybe a waft of the caffeine goodness will spark some great ideas from you!


6 thoughts on “Clearing your creative block

  1. I procrastinate all the time… but that sometimes makes me go off topic. I also meditate or have coffee so I can focus. Closing your eyes and just thinking over what you just wrote can also help.

  2. I was once taught by a creative writing instructor that there’s nothing like a deadline to inspire creativity, which may be the opposite of the point you’re trying to make, but as Bill Clinton famously said, “I feel your pain.” I have a lot of work for class (I’m getting an MFA in creative writing), and I’ve discovered that when I’m not taking a fiction workshop where my work is being critiqued, I tend to procrastinate to the point where no fiction writing goes on. I recently bought a kitchen timer, and plan to set it for a half hour to forty-five minute block, working as hard as I can, then leave it behind to do other things like checking my email.

    I like the advice to meditate. I bet it might work.

    Anne Lamott, in her popular book on writing, Bird by Bird, recommended that you quiet the internal censor and allow yourself to “write shitty drafts.” You can’t fix something that isn’t on the paper.

  3. I’ve never heard of taking your mind off the writing work you have to do as “procrastination”. I prefer “creative distraction”, personally. Oh, and I also find meditation very helpful in the writing process.

  4. I’m glad you put procrastination in there… I find that the best ideas I get are when I’m doing something completely different.
    On that note, another good thing to do – personally, maybe this is odd to everyone else – is to take a shower. I swear that’s when all the ideas decide to swarm right on in. The only place I CAN’T write stuff down – unless I get some of those kiddie bath crayons – and the only place where I can get through a plot fumble or a loophole before going back to my story.

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