I used to question and doubt the existence of writer’s block. That was before I started to go through prolonged periods of feeling like I had nothing to say. While I now do believe in writer’s block, I also believe that there are certain steps one can take to get through this period, however long it lasts. It is my hope that this series will be a resource for those who don’t know what to write about, are stuck in their current project, or just want to try something new.
The first thing I can recommend is exercise. Physical activity is a great way to get rid of unwanted thoughts pertaining to your writing project. It’s a break. You can do whatever you like during this time. As long as you are moving your body, you are doing something “right” (from an exercise standpoint). Usually, though it is a break, there is some thought process required for exercising. If you are running, for example, you must remember to move one leg in front of the other. If you are having a difficult mental day, you may have to continually remind yourself, “Move the left leg, move the right leg.” If this is all you want to focus on for the exercise session, go for it and let your brain temporarily downgrade to autopilot mode.
However, if you are ready for more of a challenge, exercise also allows you to think about what you are going through in your writing project. After all, while exercise does require some mental thought, it may not always be on par with the mental thinking that writing requires. This goes especially for activities that use repetitive motions (like, once again, running). In reality, it would be pretty difficult to sustain an activity while thinking of absolutely nothing the entire time. The brain spins. The mind wanders. And suddenly, an idea springs about. You have a greater chance of this happening if you are outdoors and/or surrounded by people, as people are always up to strange activities. Even looking outside of a window may do. And if, at the end of it, you don’t get any thoughts down, you were at least able to temporarily move away from the all-consuming, terribly inefficient task of banging your head on the desk, waiting for that magic idea to spring up.
What about you? Do you exercise? If so, do you find it helps your work process before, during, or after your session is up?
*Photo Courtesy of hyena reality from freedigitalphotos.net.