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How do you deal with writer’s block?

November 4, 2009

Here’s how I’ve been dealing with my writer’s block of late:

  1. Doing nothing. I sit down to write, with the best intentions of actually doing so, but I just end up surfing around the Internet looking at relatively useless Wikipedia pages (no one’s traveling through time anytime soon).
  2. Reading. I once heard that when writer’s block hits, one should become a voracious reader to rouse creativity. Indeed, a lot of ideas I get for this blog are found by reading other blogs, but nothing has prompted anything more than a comment here and there.
  3. Tweeting. I’m on Twitter almost every day just out of a sheer need to stay connected. If anyone’s still calling that “microblogging,” then maybe that counts. Point is, I’m maintaining a Web presence.
  4. Brushing my teeth with my left hand. I’ve heard brushing with your non-dominant hand spurs brain activity. It also keeps you from going too hard on your gums.

(More tips appreciated.)

UPDATE: Here’s a great post via bad banana blog about what 25 artists do to overcome creative block.

I think what writer’s block really comes down to is an inordinate amount of stress over the failure to come up with something original. That, combined with the rapid-fire, constant-updates nature of the Internet, compounds writer’s block into more of a problem than it used to be. My deadline is now and I haven’t come up with something in three days? FAIL.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 4, 2009 7:46 pm

    My husband and I have recently started forcing ourselves to write an hour each night, we take an hour to ourselves, with minimal talking, and work on our separate books. It works great… for him! Me, I am the one who is sitting all frustrated because the last writing session just did not turn out the way I wanted it to, then furiously erasing what I attempted to write in the current session. Finally… I fall into the same routine as you. Surfing the net randomly, checking out blogs in hopes to get some sort of inspiration, and yes, tweeting as well. However… I have not brushed my teeth with my left hand… maybe I should!

  2. November 5, 2009 2:36 am

    I reckon the best thing you can do is take yourself away from your desk, go outside, take a walk. Give your brain some other kind of stimulus-you never know what might click. NLP types reckon if you also start thinking about something else, it shifts your writers block problem to your subconscious which is much more powerful than your conscious. And then you get that eureka! moment.

    Me though, I’m just sitting here reading blogs….

  3. November 5, 2009 5:10 pm

    Thanks—good advice all around. I think getting out of the house and doing something other than focusing on journalism/social media/blogging is probably a good idea in more ways than one. I’ll do that.

    At the same time, I’m reminded of the advice Brian Michael Bendis gave me once. He said (paraphrasing), “Writing is like working out—you’ve gotta do it everyday. If you only do it once a week, you’re never going to improve.” Along those lines, I think I need to have another space where I can just write about whatever I want. Maybe my new Posterous account would fit the bill.

  4. March 2, 2010 11:26 am

    Added an update with a great link to a post that features 25 artists talking about what they do to overcome creative block. Recommended.

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