Want to defeat writer’s block? You can. Over the past month, our writers’ group has been working with a therapist and a group of experienced authors who suffered from severe blocks — they couldn’t write fiction at all.
These simple methods helped.
Writer’s block: why are you blocked?
If you’re new to writing fiction, your inner critic can cause you to block:
Once you recognize the lies your inner critic is telling you, and recognize the source, you can go ahead and write happily. Unfortunately, this recognition is hard, because the words your inner critic whispers activate your sympathetic nervous system: this is your fight or flight response.
Fight or flight shuts down your thinking processes. The only way to counter this is to activate your parasympathetic nervous system, so that your body calms and you can think again.
Experienced authors have usually discovered how to manage their inner critic.
These authors can block because:
- They’re stressed;
- They’ve emptied their well of creativity;
- They’re bored;
- Their subconscious mind has put up a big STOP! You’re Going the Wrong Way! sign;
- They’re procrastinating;
- Something in their writing has triggered this unwanted response.
Give these simple, yet powerful, methods a try.
1. Rock, boulder, door? A 5-minute visualization
Close your office door. You need five minutes for this little visualization.
Close your eyes, and relax completely. Take three long, slow, deep breaths, releasing all your tensions on the exhalations.
Imagine you’re in your favorite relaxation spot, alone. This can be on a beach, in a mountain meadow, in your backyard. Take a moment to feel yourself there. What sounds do you hear?
Now imagine your writer’s block. Is it in the form of a rock? A large, heavy boulder, or a door?
Accept the first impression which comes.
In your visualization, pick up the rock and toss it away.
Move the boulder. Imagine that the boulder is lighter than air; it’s a balloon. It slowly lifts; and blows away on the breeze.
Open the door, and walk through it in your imagination.
All done? That’s all there is to this visualization.
2. Draw it out: doodle, and write with your non-dominant hand
Take a pencil and a blank sheet of paper. Doodle your block… Any doodle will do.
If you wish, you can write this sentence with your non-dominant hand: “My writer’s block is…” Then briefly describe your block.
3. “I give up!” Create a ritual
Your subconscious mind’s primary task is to ensure that you survive; the block can be caused by an aspect of yourself which is determined to keep you safe. For some reason, this aspect of your subconscious mind views your fiction as a threat.
Create a ritual to disarm it.
(Do this ritual at your kitchen sink, so you can let the paper burn up safely.)
Grab a candle, light it, and write on a small piece of paper: “I give up!” Set the paper alight from the candle, and drop the paper into the kitchen sink. Allow the words to burn up.
And you’re done. 🙂
Rituals are powerful. Someone in our group asked whether this ritual is “magic?” 🙂 No, it’s psychology. Your subconscious aspect wants acknowledgement. So when you’ve acknowledged its concern it fades away.
Writer’s block: relax and destress at least once a week
Take one day a week off from writing. Do something you enjoy, and avoid thinking about your writing at all.