10 Things You Can Do to Overcome Writer's Block: Q&A Session
by Vaughn Edward
March 10, 2019
What are some of the best tips you can share with aspiring writers?
Too often, we hear of writers and creative artists, and their challenges with writer's block, or musicians who are having difficulty with creating their next song. There are many ways to overcome these challenges. Most of the time, it is because there is too much happening inside of our minds. Too much thinking and too much processing leaves very little room for a free-flow of ideas and creativity.
Here are a few things you can do if you are an aspiring writer. This works for writers, musicians, artists, or anyone in any field.
1. Surround yourself with positive, uplifting people. Get away from friends, family, acquaintances or anyone who is negative or puts your dream down. This includes people on social media. Quietly un-friend them. After so long in this environment, you become their words. The same with positive people. After so long, you become their words. Meaning, what we hear, over and over, we become. Better to become something positive, than something useless and degrading. Surround yourself with encouraging people. Those with a high drive will rub off on you and make you want to succeed. If you can achieve this first step in merely wanting to succeed, all else will fall into place.
2. Write your goals down, every single day. Do not just log them in on your phone or other device. Physically write them down. Writing your goals down makes you think of them, intensely. After you write them, your subconscious takes over and dreams about it even more. Dream big. Write down exactly what you want, and think about these things, over and over. What you have written down, read it aloud. The more you pay attention to your goals, the more they pay attention to you, and the more they become a part of your world.
3. Study the greats. When I wanted to learn how to write, I read books by Alexandre Dumas and John Steinbeck. I also read hundreds of books by Sci-Fi and Fantasy authors, since this was what I wanted to write. I read as much as possible, and I read mostly from award-winning and best-selling authors. They won for a reason. While you read, ask yourself why you like or don't like parts of their stories. What would you have done differently? What would you have said differently? How would you have punctuated differently?
Pay attention to their vocabulary, each character's way of enunciating, and the way the author punctuates. It is the same with music. The best way to learn to play music, is to listen to the legends who play music.
4. Go into solitary modes. Periodically, for 15 minutes to an hour or more at a time, do nothing but relax and get away. Watch the sun rise. Watch the sun set. Take a walk in a park or the woods. Breathe deeply, and do nothing else, just breathing. Sit in front of a fire and stare at it. Take a drive. Don't turn on the music. Crack the window and listen to the air while you drive. Take a hot shower, specifically to relax and clear out. Close your eyes while you do it, and just breathe.
While doing any of these, do not talk. Just pay attention and be aware of what is happening inside of you. Ideas and creativity can happen, if we allow it to.
5. Exercise. Many times, when we are blocked, all we need to do is release the stress. Push ups work very fast. They open up all the meridians of the body, allowing energy to pass through and clear you out. Jumping jacks are good. Walking. Stretching. Body Tapping. Lifting weights. Any of these, and pretty much all exercise works. While exercising, pay super attention to your body, and what is happening inside of you.
Do not watch TV, like some of those people on the treadmills at the gym, staring at the TV. It's the worst. Their gaze is set outside of their body, and their attention is focused on a screen, instead of their body. If you try to do both, you do neither well. You are neither watching TV fully, nor are you exercising to the fullest. You are doing both kind of half and half. Just exercise, and pay attention to yourself by setting your gaze and focus on the inside. Feel your heartbeat. Listen to your breath. Feel the pain. Feel the stretch. In these intense moments, you are able to release blocks and stress.
6. Limit the amount of time you spend on games and TV. People who play games on their phones or computers, or those who watch shows regularly, wake up every single day, knowing and expecting to do those things. While these are fun, and sometimes inspiring, these activities take up many hours in our day. These are hours that can be used to manifest your own creations.
In order to add more hours of creativity into your day, you have to choose to do so. Choose to stop playing games, and choose to stop the hours of TV shows in your day. Choose to sit down and create, to write, to do the things that matter to you. Once you choose to do something, you wake up fresh every day, knowing and expecting to create and write.
7. People watch. When you are out, do not waste your time and energy by talking, talking, talking. Unless is it is sincere and meaningful conversation, talking is mostly all blah, blah, blah. Most of the time, we are only voicing out the chaos inside of our minds. It does nobody any good, including you. Instead of doing that, just be aware of your surroundings. Watch the people around you. What are they doing? What can you learn from them? You might just see a story, right in front of your eyes, given to you by the people at the next table at a restaurant. Or by some random person walking down the street. But if you are talking and not paying attention, you will miss all of it.
8. Carry a bag with a notebook and pen. Wherever you go, take this with you. You never know when you may get an idea. If you do, you're prepared and can write it down. There were times in the past when I was not prepared, and lyrics came to me. It was all I could do but constantly repeat them in my head, until I could find something to write on.
9. Read stories and articles about successful people, not just writers, but people from all fields. This includes, music, acting, business, and those who are overcoming traumatic experiences. To read and acknowledge such stories gives hope. It shows that you too can do the things in the world of success, because another person was able to do it. Do this periodically to remind yourself of good things.
10. Practice, if you're a musician. Write, if you're a writer. Don't make any excuses about time or money or a space to do it. Just go out and do it. In my formative years, I was practicing scales, arpeggios, riffs and tunes for music, 5-10 hours a day. when I was not practicing, I was thinking about music. The same with writing. Write your story. Think about it when you are not writing.
Much of what is written above is based on how full our minds are. If your mind is too full, you are blocked. If it is empty, ideas and inspiration can come to you. Exercising, meditating, relaxing, paying attention. These all help to clear yourself out, so that you can be in the Zone. When you are in the Zone, thoughts cease, and the fantastical world of the unseen takes over. This is where your stories will come from.
Reading about success will help you to put in perspective what you can do, once you have your story.