Monday, June 18, 2007

The #1 way to overcome writer's block

According to Wikipedia, writer's block is “a phenomenon involving temporary loss of ability to continue writing, usually due to lack of inspiration or creativity.”

There’s also great list of techniques to help overcome creative barriers such as:

1. Set a time and write whatever comes to mind, without stopping, for that time.

2. Taking a break, meditating, or doing relaxation exercises to relieve any pressure on oneself and on the writing.

3. Doing something out of the ordinary. If writer's block comes from a lack of new ideas, attempts to spark creativity by going somewhere new or doing something different can be useful.

4. Reading, watching movies or plays, or similar activities that might bring inspiration.

Good stuff. Thanks Wikipedia!

However.

Writing is an extension of thinking. And great writers are great thinkers.

So, if you’re having trouble writing, that probably means you’re having trouble thinking.

Which brings me to the #1 way to overcome writer's block...

LESSON LEARNED: Go back to the source.

Better writing comes from better thinking.

You know, it’s funny. I’m often accused of “never running out of content,” "never sleeping" or “always pumping out new material.” (Like that's a bad thing!)

But see, I write like I talk. And I talk like I think. And since I’m usually either talking or thinking, then obviously, it’s not humanly possibly to get writer’s block!

Therefore, allow me to offer my own list for overcoming writer's block:

1. Clear. Practice meditation, mental dumping, relaxation, breathing or any other brain-conditioning techniques to open your mind, heart and soul to receive new ideas. Best when done first thing in the morning. Read The Artist's Way and learn how to do morning pages. I promise they will change your life.

2. Exercise. Your body AND your mind. Don't choose one or the other. Do both. Read books on creative thinking (especially the ones with exercises). Do Sudoku, crossword puzzles, anything to get your brain cranking. Also best when early in the morning.

3. Think. I know. It's so dumb that I'm telling you to "think." Still, every single day, take at least 15 minutes to just THINK. Yes, think. It sounds dumb to literally “make time to think,” but you’ll be amazed what you learn. Consider having daily appointments with yourself. I promise they will (also) change your life.

4. Read. Not the newspaper. Ughh. I’m talking about good books. Positive books. Fiction or non-fiction. Just something to get your imagination flowing.

5. Capture. Write everything down. Constantly. “Pluck” ideas daily by tuning in your eyes and ears and capturing content as if your life depended on it. And don’t tell yourself you’ll remember it. That which goes unrecorded goes unmemorable. If you don’t write it down, it NEVER happened. REMEMBER: Writing is the basis of all wealth. Oh, and don't forget about The Paradox of Inspiration. VERY important.

6. Expand. Take an idea; then stretch it. For example, I thought to myself the other day, “Why don’t I ever get writer’s block?” Then I sat down a made a list of everything I do to kick my creative spirit in the butt. Then I wrote this article. See? Expand it! Do word explorations. Google your idea to get more ideas.

REMEMBER: these tips are only effective when underscored by a foundation of t-h-i-n-k-i-n-g.

Because a writer in motion stays in motion.

So...

If you want to change your writing, change your thinking.
If you want to increase your writing, increase your thinking.
If you want to become a better writer, become a better thinker.

Writer's block, schmiter's block.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What's your #1 way to overcome writer's block?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
Share your best technique here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

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