How To Overcome Writer’s Block.
by Paula Morand
Erica Jong wrote one of my favourite writing guides called The New Writer’s Handbook 2007: A Practical Anthology of Best Advice for Your Craft and Career.
I had no idea when I first picked it up how writing would become a part of my daily routine and how books would become a significant component to my motivational speaking and training business at that time.
But every time I struggled to find the words, I’d go back to her advice:
“All writing problems are psychological problems,” she wrote. “Blocks usually stem from the fear of being judged. If you imagine the world listening, you’ll never write a line. That’s why privacy is so important. You should write first drafts as if they will never be shown to anyone.”
I remember that when I am starting a book and I find myself hesitating. So many people advise you to write for the reader, and of course you have to know who your reader is to get started, but you must write what you have to say when you are blocked and not worry so much.
I have other tricks that keep me from wasting my writing time or having unproductive days.
For example, I always write early in the morning before all the distractions of the day interrupt me. My thought come clearer and faster then.
It wasn’t until I read Daniel Pink’s new bestseller When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, that I discovered mornings are prime time for doing our most challenging work of the day for most people.
I can’t write when I’m half asleep; I am best when I have grabbed a cup of coffee and maybe even had a quick shower to wake up my body and my mind. Then the thoughts come faster and clearer.
Listen to your body
To me, writing is as much an action of the body as the mind, and when I say that, people are often surprised. But many days, I am not sure which sets the tone for my most productive days: my body or my mind.
When my body feels good, when I have had a good walk or a work-out, taken time to eat nutritiously, and had sufficient sleep, I think much clearer and faster than if I feel exhausted, I’m fighting a cold or I haven’t been taking care of myself.
Every 25 minutes, no matter how tight my writing deadline is, I get up and move for at least three minutes. I walk around my office, step outside for a minute, or light a fragrant candle or smell a flower.
When I return three minutes later, I am totally invigorated as if I am just starting.
Be attentive to your writing time
If I am asking my mind to be clear and give me good ideas and phrases, then I owe it to my mind to give it my full attention.
When I write I turn off my phone. If I am home, my family members know my routine and will interrupt me only if it the house is on fire.
Even in the office, they know I will surface every 25 minutes and an urgent message can reach me then. Otherwise, I try to finish at least a chapter of a book before I stop.
Do not over-write just because you are on a roll
Experience has taught me that if I drain myself mentally and physically writing one day, it will be very hard for me to return to the keyboard the next day or even the day after that.
Quit while you still have some energy left and still have something to say.
It will make starting again the next day so much easier.
I got that tip from reading Ernest Hemingway’s “Monologue to the Maestro: A High Seas Letter” that was published in October, 1935 in Esquire magazine.
Asked for advice to new authors, the great Hemingway wrote these lines:
“The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day when you are writing a novel, you will never be stuck. That is the most valuable thing I can tell you, so try to remember it.”
Paula Morand is a leadership building, revenue boosting, strategy expanding keynote speaker, author and visionary. This dreaming big and being bold leadership expert and brand strategist brings her vibrant energy, humor and wisdom to ignite individuals, organizations and communities to lead change, growth and impact in a more bold fashion.
Named to the Top 200 Most Influential Authors
24 years, 27,000 clients, 34 countries, 15 books, former radio personality, 11x award winning entrepreneur and humorous emcee. Check out Paula’s bestselling books on Amazon: “Bold Courage: How Owning Your Awesome Changes Everything”, “Dreaming BIG and Being BOLD: Inspiring stories from Trailblazers, Visionaries and Change Makers” book series; and her newest release “Bold Vision: A Leader’s Playbook for Managing Growth”.
For speaking inquiries email firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll-free 1-888-502-6317.