Has the world ever seen a writer who never wrestled with the question:
What do I do when the words won’t come?
To break through my personal blog writer’s block, I jotted down these ideas that might help others.
When words won’t come:
Pick up a pen or pencil. Write longhand. Psychologists advise that breaking out of an expected routine (fingers on the keyboard) may help restart the flow of words. Writing longhand for a while also forces us out of an expected rhythm. Writing longhand is typically a more fluid process, slower, and reintroduces the art of producing words.
Don’t attempt to write words. Doodle. It might seem contraindicated to make random marks on the page when what you really need are words. But doodling has its value in setting our creativity free from a regimented “Have to reach my word count” to being content with mental wandering. A fresh perspective often emerges when the mind takes the unpaved path.
Step away from your laptop and toward your camera/camera phone. Observe life through a camera lens. Take a field trip in search of beauty, curiosities, and scenes. They rarely fail to inspire.
Rub some dirt on it. Pull weeds. Plant something. Build something. Get your hands dirty. Using a different part of your brain for a while may rest the wrinkles that produce words.
Play with blocks. Not your writer’s block, but kids’ toys or games. The simple act of stacking blocks or counting squares frees your mind of cobwebs so when you return to your keyboard, nothing will stand in the way of the words.
Crank up the music. The words stuck in your brain may need to be pushed around a little by the notes of your favorite music. The words are there. Trust that they’ll show up when they’re ready, once they break out of word jail.
Allow yourself a half hour for something that makes you laugh–a YouTube video, episode of a comedy show, or humor podcast. Laughter is good medicine for almost any ailment.
Feel the burn. Burn off the dross of wordlessness with exercise or activity. If the words still won’t come, at least you will have whittled away a few calories.
Read another episode of the Books & Such “Between the Lines” blog. Will it get the words flowing again? Maybe. Or maybe you’ll learn something to help grow your writing craft skills.
Write and post a review for someone else’s work. The exercise will remind you why you do what you do.
What do we do when words won’t come? How does a writer tease them out from where they hide? “Leave them alone and they’ll come home,” as Little Bo Peep discovered.