Here we are, no judgement. If you’re here as a writer, let’s be real. You’re either reading this tail tucked between your legs with a deadline pending or about to throw your computer off the roof of your apartment, also with a deadline pending. Personally, I fell into the latter of those categories just yesterday while trying to overcome writer’s block. If you’re reading this for curiosity’s sake, feel free to stick around as well, because this will prove to entertain.
Let’s Cut the Crap
I’m talking to you, meditation app. Writer’s block is real and hit me from time to time pre-covid shut down. My favorite hack was to run away from my bad joujou to my favorite coffee shop and hit reset on my brain with copious amounts of caffeine. Now, with the entire country locked down tight, that’s really not an option.
So… now what. As writers, we have a built in perfectionist tendency. We don’t get to be this detail-oriented with laser focus for grammatical correctness from being laid back. Admit it, you’re at least a little type A. I feel you. Hell, my name is actually Karen!
And as a paid writer or other creative, you most likely have some big tasks on your plate that feel daunting and haunting without your normal energy flowing. Here are my very real solutions on how to overcome writer’s block.
Get Creative, Just Not YOUR Creative
I’m proud to admit this blog is being written with a song called “sexual” on repeat on my surround sound. Why? That’s the song I was singing in the mirror while I washed my face and danced like a manic person when my creative juices turned back on.
Sometimes the solution to the problem has nothing to do with the task. For me, singing falsetto poorly while doing horrendous dance moves got me so far out of my head that I felt inspired again. I was having fun and not overthinking a problem I had no solutions to.
It doesn’t have to be music, though. Maybe it’s time to bake a cake or make a cringy home video to your favorite TikTok sounds (posting optional). The point is, your creative energy is at its peak when you don’t actively try to conjure it. We don’t have nearly as many organic moments to stumble upon inspiration, so we need to take it upon ourselves to actively create inspiration.
From your computer, that is. Good ‘ol pen and paper has never had a more important role. Blue light fatigues the brain and can make it harder to focus *puts on blue light glasses*. Especially if you are not used to working from your laptop all day, this can be a tremendous drain of brain power.
Blue light doesn’t stop at your computer when you’re working though. Have you been binging Tiger King lately? Are you on TikTok and Instagram more? Are you meeting via Zoom rather than your conference room? There it is!
Plan out your work the old-fashioned way and log on when you’re ready to grind!
Stop Editing in Your Head
If premature edits were a crime, I would be the ringleader felon! Trust me, I get it… it can be tough to not think of the final draft while you write that initial draft. The number one piece of advice I’ve ever received- you can’t edit nothing.
If you find yourself in the write, delete, repeat cycle- knock it off! Leave it be and add in a line or hit return/enter a few times. It’s that initial “fool’s gold” copy that often leads to the real gold by showing us what we aren’t trying to say just as much as what we want to say.
Get Out Your Caffeine Zoomies
Apparently, if you drink caffeine with nowhere to go it can make you antsy? It’s time to put that athleisure wear you’re definitely wearing right now to work! You don’t have to train for a half marathon or become a crossfit king. Go for a walk around your block or down Bayshore. After all, according to the great philosopher, Elle Woods, “exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their [laptops], they just don’t.”
Go Fly, Little Peacock
Now that you have all this beautiful wisdom in your lap, go flap your writer wings, you majestic creature! Jk, jk. Writer’s block is no joke and, especially for us creatives, our identity is built upon our creative prowess. Realize that this is temporary and you’ve beat this out before. Take active steps back from your work, don’t come down like Thor’s hammer on yourself, and don’t doubt your abilities. These are wild times and it’s okay to not be your most productive self. You’re a fabulous word wizard even on your bad days!