Writer’s block. Ernest Hemingway called it “the white bull.” That empty page that’s like an angry beast looking back at you, taunting and daring you to spill your ink upon it.
Ink that’s been all used up.
Some call it mental block. Others call it an artistic rut. Others simply use the term “blocked” to refer to this pitiful state.
It’s when the well runs dry. When the creative juice stops flowing.
And you’re blocked.
So what do you do when the ideas stop flowing and your inspiration has evaporated?
As a writer of both non-fiction and fiction, I’ve starred back at the white bull, even going nose-to-nose with him.
And here’s what I’ve learned.
Writer’s block is a symptom of something else. Think of it as the indicator that your creative battery has been drained and it’s begging you for a recharge.
With that insight, here are seven ways that I’ve learned to recharge my creative battery and become unblocked.
Find something else to focus on for awhile that’s relaxing. Walk away from the bull for a period of time. I don’t mean a few hours; I mean days. Maybe even a week or more.
Start watching the TV series LOST. Or play some games on the Xbox. Or take a vacation. Get away from your writing and recharge. (Recreation means re-creation.)
I know, it’s counter-intuitive. But recreation and relaxation are one of the most productive things you can do from a creativity standpoint.
A recharchable battery that’s sitting idol in a recharger for a day is doing nothing. Seemingly, anyway. But it’s the secret to its future energy and output.
The same is true for writers who are blocked.
- Get a Virtual Mentor.
One of the results of The Buzz Seminar Master Class is that the course it’s has provided inspiration, motivation, and insight to many writers. But in addition to that, the course gives you access to the exclusive-to-members HIVE Facebook group.
This group connects everyone who took the course with all the presenters of the course as well as with everyone else who took it. The HIVE, then, is a place for inspiration, motivation, and recharge. It’s become a virtual mentor to many.
- Read Your Contemporaries.
One of my friends once told me that the way he gets jazzed to write is simply to read contemporary authors who are writing on similar topics. Because when he reads them, he gets mad. In other words, he gets angry at what they are writing and so he becomes motivated to respond in his own writing. This is a priceless piece of advice.
- Watch Movies.
Relax your mind and watch some films. A movie is a piece of art. Sometimes, my most interesting ideas have been sparked by something I’ve seen on film.
- Listen to a Full Album by an Artist or Group.
I’m not talking about a playlist on Pandora. I’m speaking of an entire album by a music group or artist. Listen to it from beginning to end. An album is a creative body of work; a cohesive unit. One of the greatest bands in history intentionally didn’t release singles because they wanted listeners to hear their entire body of work in their albums. As I’ve pointed out elsewhere, a book is very much like an album.
- Go for Regular Walks or Runs.
I’m a walker. For me, walking feeds my brain with ideas. So much so, that I sometimes carry a tape recorder with me to record the flood of thoughts. The same rush of creativity happens with runners as well. Moving the body stimulates the brain.
- Mow a Lawn on a Riding Mower
It’s often said that the person who mows lawns for a living is the happiest, most contented individual on the planet in terms of work. There’s a point there. If you have access to riding mower, mow a lawn. It’s a great way to clear your mind, making it fertile for fresh ideas.
There you have it. 7 ways to defeat writers block and get “unblocked.”
There’s an 8th, but it’s beyond my experience. It’s to find a muse.
A muse is a person who inspires you consistently.
Up until this point, different people have inspired me at different times, but I’ve never had a single individual fill that role on a consistent basis.
Since I have no idea how one goes about finding a muse, I’m adding it as a footnote to the list.
For more on the subject of writing, get the FREE 3-part audio seminar entitled Secrets to Having a Breakthrough Year in Writing.