I can count on writer’s block like I can count on my anxiety– constant companions that will never abandon me, like warts and aching joints. However, I need to write to feel right, so I have to find ways to push through or go around. I have some ideas for getting around the dreaded writer’s block that sometimes help; perhaps someone out there in cyberspace will also find something useful here:
Do I have something to say that I’m afraid of saying? I give myself permission to write something and not publish it or share it in any way. Then I can say whatever comes out!
Often all the ideas I have throughout the day (which, you know, were all exceedingly brilliant and insightful) elude me when I finally have time to sit down at the keyboard. I don’t have a solution for this yet (although a recording device might be useful, but only if I actually use it, which I probably wouldn’t), but picking out something to start on, even if it’s seemingly off-topic or perhaps completely unrelated to a project of mine, can sometimes work as a jumpstart.
Type random gibberish. At least I’m hitting keys!
Form thoughts into sentences and type them out. Even if I’m repeating, “I don’t know what to write. I can’t think of a thing. I just feel anxious. AGAIN. Blah blah, that’s boring. I can’t write about that again. I should go to bed. But what if I can’t sleep? I might as well sit here. At least then I’m not panicking about not being able to fall asleep…” etc. Classic application of the adage, “Begin where you are.” Sitting at my kitchen table, unsold dozens of eggs from today’s market all around me, my stomach growls from too much adrenaline and too little food. (Yes, that’s literally where I am.)
When completely and disastrously blocked with no useful direction and nothing is working, perhaps a list: First Ten Things I’d Do With Lottery Winnings, maybe. Or Things I Wish I Understood (that could take hours!).
I’m sure there are more tricks to play on the blocked mind. Writers, what are your favorite tried-and-true ways to get unstuck?