A simple exercise to get out of a writer’s block
Reading time: 5 minutes
Writer’s block is a widespread outbreak, but it has a cure. I bet you often wonder the same questions I do. “If I have a hyperactive brain that always gives me insomnia, how come there is a blank page before me when I try to put my thoughts down to paper?”
Usually, the problem is that I am acting as the editor and writer, instead of only concentrating on writing. Trying to be both at once bricks my head like a lousy jailbreak job.
When two drunk people at a bar are having a discussion, one talking louder on top of the other, nothing gets solved, and they both end up asleep, and, quite possibly, full of piss.
I have stumbled upon recently on the technique of simply writing. Shocking, I know. But this deceivingly simple strategy is often overlooked. We are so hard on ourselves, either to impress ourselves or others, that you try to go from thought, straight to published novel, without going through the gruesome and often illuminating process of drafting.
How I get out of my writer’s block
Just write. You read me. Just start writing. Get yourself off of your mind’s path and let it do what it does best, create. Don’t edit anything before writing it down, and don’t go back to fix errors or check if the sentences make any sense. Trust me, something interesting will come out of it.
Whenever you feel as if you’re trying to make sense of it and overthinking it, go back to only writing. The parallels to meditation are apparent. If you are doing it right, it will feel similar to meditating, as in your mind is empty, but instead of concentrating on the breath, your attention is in the word you are writing at that moment, nothing else.
In fact, I am using this technique as I’m writing this. I have not stopped writing since the beginning of this post, and I had no idea what to write about, to begin with.
Once you feel like you’ve run a small mental marathon, stop and go back through it, correcting any grammar mistakes or typos from all that blazing-fast writing.
The Invisible Audience
Now read it aloud as if you were giving a TED talk. You’ll immediately notice the parts that don’t sound right or are out of place. Fix those and reread it. Remain in this loop to satisfaction.
The Two Faced Critique
I call this one The Two-Faced Critique. First, reread your piece as if you were a fan of your work and point out three reasons why your writing rocks. It could be why you love it or why you think it works, given the medium used, context, and audience.
Then, do the opposite. Be like a merciless stuck up film critic who is secretly a frustrated director. Point out three things you hate about your writing and why it doesn’t work. Listening to both arguments, make the proper adjustments.
The Forced Audience
Now grab your spouse, friend, brother, mom, that guy shitting in the streets of New York behind a chapel(true story) and read your piece aloud once more, this time with an audience. Ask for honesty and put on the seatbelt. Take their comments into consideration and make changes as needed.
Whewww we made it! I wrote this whole post in one sitting. It is all about momentum. Once you give your analytical brain a break, your creative one can come alive!
Stephen King’s On Writing seems to be highly recommended on Reddit.