Thursday, October 20, 2016

10 Ways To Avoid or Blast Through Writer's Block

I'm getting myself ready for NaNoWriMo which happens during the months of November.  This is as much for me as it is for you.

When it comes to writer's block, I fully believe that the brain stumps itself due to two things: over-thinking and lack of inspiration.

1.  Exercise
Either stick with your regular exercise workout or start one.  I find that if I stop going to the gym early in the morning, I start to feel like my blood is coagulating after a day or two, especially if I'm writing for most of my day.  It's also a good time to let your mind wander or focus on writing issues.

2. Do Something Social
I'm an introvert by nature and often feel anxiety when I'm out among people I'm not familiar with.  I still make myself get out there and be social every so often.  My godfather runs a local weekly wine club, so sometimes I go to that.  Other times, I will try to go out with some friends for lunch or have a game night or something along those lines.

3. Nature
Enjoying nature is a great way to relieve stress and to reinvigorate the mind.  Go for a walk in the woods or on a trail, take a boat ride, visit the zoo (if that's an option), go bird-watching, go to the botanical gardens...go be one with nature somehow.  When I lived in Oregon, I really liked going out to Old Salmon River Trail, even if it was raining or a little chilly.  I always felt so much better afterwards.

4. Allow Yourself Relaxation Time
You may meditate, do yoga, knit, paint, etc.  Whatever it is that relaxes you, make sure you let yourself do it.  It doesn't have to be every day, but it needs to be as often as you need it.  For me, I love reading a magazine in a hot bath while listening to music.

5. Hour of Music
If you feel stumped, dig in your music archives and listen to a solid hour of music.  No writing allowed.  Just really try to feel the music.  If you want to push it further, turn it into an hour of playing music on your preferred instrument.

6. Take Time For Food
Take the time to make some good food.  Make enough to last a few days.  Try out new recipes.  The better the food is (and healthier), the better you will feel.  It might be a good time to try out that new lasagne or casserole recipe.  It might be a good time to make your favorite comfort foods or discover new favorite comfort foods likes bacon-topped roasted asparagus, roasted brussel sprouts, homemade chicken noodle soup, gourmet mac and cheese (try with seafood or chicken or veggies), or pie.  Cooking is often seen as being cathartic, so treat it that way.  Take pride in your meals.

7.  Set Goals & Rewards
Sometimes you need a little incentive to reach your next goal.  NaNoWriMo has goal badges set at: 1667, 5000, 10000, 25000, 40000, and 50000.  Each time you reach a writing goal, however you set it up, reward yourself with something.  Perhaps a new book or a haircut or a special dessert.  If you need 1000 words to reach that next goal point, you might just find it in yourself to get there.

8. Pinterest
I really like pinterest.  I have so many boards on there for various things.  I keep track of recipes that sound interesting.  I have some boards for my sewing interests, others for the holidays (ideas for presents and food and stuff), and even some for my writing projects.  Get on pinterest and form a board for your writing project.  Spend a little time looking for inspirational pictures, art, or even items that your characters might wear.  It's a great way to form a visual collage for your story.

9. Writing Journal
I have a writing journal.  I try not to write about what I'm working on.  It might be a random scene or some bad poetry or some dialogue between characters.  I tend to write in my journal when I'm in bed or waiting for the oven timer or something like that.  It doesn't have to be much, just one page.  What this does is change your thoughts so you focus on this other writing.

10. Learn Something New
Learning new things can help your writing immensely.  Perhaps you visit a museum and walk away inspired by something as simple as the pattern on some old fabric or some old indian beadwork.  Maybe it's a documentary and you simply learn more about a topic of interest.  You will start to notice that it affects your work.  Try it out by visiting a museum, art gallery, watching a documentary, etc.

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