How do you rid yourself of writer’s block? Personally, I go for a walk off the beaten path with no sounds of traffic or screaming kids. A walk often refreshes my mind and the ideas flow.
I asked a variety of writers, some former students, to answer this question, and I hope they will give you some ideas on how you can rid yourselves of your writer’s block. Unfortunately, we all go through fallow periods, but we hope they don’t persist, particularly if we are on deadline to produce something meaningful.
1) Casey Stephenson: I write novels. When I experience writer’s block, I usually turn to my favorite passages of classic novels like “Jane Eyre” and “The Grapes of Wrath.” These stir my imagination and love of language, and I start writing again.
2) John Bellows: I write essays. I keep index cards with affirmations in my desk drawer. When I have writer’s block, I turn to my batch of them. They tell me such things as, “I can write and publish inspiring work.” This gets me into a positive frame of mind and gets me going again.
3) Jim Bates: I love music, just as much as I love writing short stories. When I have writer’s block, I listen to slow jazz, like Paul Desmond. This soothes me, and really helps me get back on track.
4) Kelsey Black: I write poetry. I often have writer’s block. Gardening helps me relax and gets me out of my writing funk. In winter, when I don’t garden, to get me writing again, I do something mindless like housework. Then, the ideas often start to flow.
5) Shelley Petersen: I write short stories. When I have writer’s block, I often go swimming. This makes me feel like I’m washing myself off and clearing my brain. I feel refreshed and ready to go at it.
6) Phil Katz: I write poetry. When I experience writer’s block, I go to a movie to get my mind off the fact that I have writer’s block. Not focusing on my writer’s block takes the pressure off of me. Afterwards, I feel renewed, and my attempts are usually successful.
7) Jonathan Jameson: I’m writing a biography, the first serious piece of writing I’ve ever done. When I get stuck, I play the piano. Music has always been a part of my life, and it always puts me in a good mood. Then, I feel I can conquer the task.
8) Sue Ann Glisan: I write feature articles for newspapers. When I get down and have writer’s block, I do aerobic exercise. This gets me into a better mood.
9) David Silverman: I’m working on my first novel. When I get writer’s block, which is very often, I take a break to work on my old Ford. I’ve always been mechanical, and this relaxes me. After a couple of hours, I’m ready to go back to “mind” work.
10) Sandy Gifford: I’m a freelance journalist. When I get writer’s block, I turn to wholesome food snacks. They get my mind working again–grains and vegetables. They seem to nourish my brain, and I feel ready to dive into work again.
11) Russell McDonald: I’m a freelance journalist. When I get writer’s block, I clean my home office. If I can’t write, it’s usually because my office is such a mess, and I can’t find papers, books, hand-written notes, and notepads.
12) Anne Grayson: I’m a freelance food writer. When I have writer’s block, I either read cookbooks for ideas or go to the grocery store to look at foods and get the urge to write and eat!
Copyright 2011 by Charlotte Digregorio.