It happens to every writer. I?m humming along, words flowing out of my brain on to the page, and then?BAM! ?the river runs dry. It?s not the same as sitting in front of a blank page wondering what to write about. I have written about writing prompts here and here. No. I?m talking about the times when I am in the middle of a page and suddenly, the words stop. This is commonly known as writer?s block.
Even if all my ideas are mapped out in an outline and I have researched a topic to death, I can still get an attack of blank brain. Maybe it?s because good writing is more than just stringing facts together. It?s more than thoughts on a page. It?s painting with words. Painting is hard on the arm and hand that move the brush. It is hard on the mind that must sift through thousands of words to find the right way to say something. Shutting down the thought process is how the brain says it needs a break from all this creative work.
Ways to conquer writer?s block
Do something physical.
Go for a walk or run. Engage in an aerobics or Pilates class. Put on your inline skates or go for a swim. Playing with your kids on the playground, bowling, or anything that forces you to move your body are good choices, too. Moving your body has been shown to increase the hormones and neurotransmitters that make your mind alert. This type of activity gives your brain a break from thinking while at the same time feeding it what it needs to work better. What could be better than that?
Use a different type of creativity through sculpting, adult coloring books, cooking, painting, or drawing. Handicrafts such as knitting, crochet, or needlework are also good. Exercising your creative muscle in a different way helps your brain make new neural connections that enhance your writing. And, because you are using your visualization abilities instead of your writing abilities, you still give your brain a break. Not to mention, it is fun to learn something new and create beautiful things.
Get out in nature.
There is something very calming and rejuvenating about the outdoors. If you can combine this with doing something physical, then hey, double the benefit, right? Get barefoot and reap the benefits of grounding, which include better sleep, reduced pain and stress, and increased healing. Wow. Giving your brain a dose of the outdoors is giving it ?vitamin G? as discussed here.
Read something lighthearted.
Shifting gears and interacting with language as a receiver instead of creator/giver can be just the dose of change you need. Avoid reading heavy, technical books. That will only tire your mind even more. Choose a novel in your favorite genre. Try a comic book.
Sometimes, all you need are frequent snack breaks!
It?s true. The brain needs fuel and when it?s running low, it sputters. Get out of your chair, go down to the local caf? and meet with a friend over lunch. When you come back refueled in multiple ways, the words will flow again.