Look, don’t get me wrong, I’m no J.K Rowling, but I can write, and I’ve been doing it for a while. I’ve kept a diary for over a decade that I make sure to write in at least once a week to keep myself all sharp and you know, wordy and such. I know about form and structure. When I was training to be a Paramedic I had to write a lot of essays and I even got an A* for one of them. (It was about Alice in Wonderland Syndrome. It’s a real thing – Google it!) And for another, I quoted lyrics from Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror and I didn’t actually fail the assignment. So I can pull off a decent bit of writing. I know I can.
But every so often, like all writers, I get Writer’s Block. And when this happens there is nothing that can shift it, nothing that can get my creative juices flowing and the words spilling out onto the page. Everything backs up, and like a blocked artery my creative vein bulges and quivers, until either everything will burst and a splurge of ideas will flow out of me – usually in no order whatsoever and making absolutely no sense. Or my creative brain will wither and die, and I’ll walk around with dead eyes, muttering ‘brains’ under my breath and gravitating towards the nearest shopping centre. Writer’s Block is, quite frankly, rubbish. And as you’ve probably guessed, I’m writing this because I have it. Right now. And it’s driving me up the wall.
I asked my fellow members of Team Tea what they do to combat the dreaded Block, and thankfully they didn’t immediately oust me with cries of ‘fraud!’ as one always fears will happen when you find yourself struggling to do the thing you’ve touted yourself as being able to do REALLY REALLY well. They came up with a lot of good tips and tricks for getting that sludgy, tired creative blood running again, (thanks guys!) so I thought I’d share them with you. These things can be applied to many forms of creativity, and are not exclusive to Writer’s Block. Use them, and so will I, and together we will kill off the parts of our brain that want to stagnate and not be utterly amazing at all times, bury them in the back garden and run away laughing.
The idea being that the more you walk, the more you’re inspired. And walking is very therapeutic. And your brain has nothing else to do (besides the standard ‘left foot, right foot, AVOID THE PUDDLE! Left foot, right foot) commands) but ponder life, the Universe and everything. So eventually, walking will clear out those blocked arteries and the ideas will come a-whoosing. And you can do a spot of bird watching while you’re at it.
2.) Write Lists
…And make Top 10 lists. Everyone loves a Top 10 list. Even if you can’t think of anything meaningful to write, there are a gazillion Top 10 lists just waiting to be made, and interesting ideas can come from these. My brother (a writer) takes a notebook with him wherever he goes in case some fantastical idea should present itself. I try to do this also, when I remember; and whipping out your notebook and making a quick Top 10 list while you’re out waiting for a friend, or waiting for the bill to come or the film to start is a great way to kill time AND generate ideas that you can save for later. Inspiration can strike in the most bizarre of settings. I remember making a Top 10 list of Toilets Featured in Video Games with my brother whilst sitting in the Olympic Stadium last summer (for any avid video game toilet enthusiasts out there – Silent Hill won it). Topics can range from the weird to the wonderful and you never know where your next big writing project could come from.
3.) Talking to People
It sounds simple, perhaps a little too simple. But it does work. An aimless conversation with a friend or colleague could turn into something that generates a thousand new ideas. And having someone to bounce your thoughts off, and an extra brain at your disposal that works slightly differently to yours, could turn the most standard of topics into a rainbow plethora of things you never thought of before. Think of the hundreds of random pub conversations you’ve had throughout your adulthood, that ended with you being convinced you’d come up with the actual Meaning of Life. Conversation can be a wonderful tool.
4.) Reading Articles and Blogs by Others
Because how can you expect your mind to kickstart itself into Writing Mode if you have nothing to inspire you. Sometimes, just seeing passionately written and interesting articles by other people is enough to get you back on your feet and into the writing groove. It helps you to remember what you are interested in and passionate about – you can generate ideas based on your opinions of what you’re seeing and reading, and sometimes that’s all you need.
5.) JUST WRITE!
Because eventually something will come out that isn’t drivel. Hopefully.
So come on, try out these tips and get back on the written-word horse. I’ll do the same and with any luck I’ll have many interesting things to discuss when we next meet. Plus I’ll have spotted some fabulous birds, and spent a lot of time in the pub, talking to strangers about the meaning of life. Hopefully with gin.
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