The Voice Issue 30: July/August 2017 - Page 49

By YWP Summer Intern Grace Safford

The Fable of Writer's Block

My first piece of advice is to realize that writer’s block isn’t real. You are never truly blocked from writing. You may be just suffering from the ever temporary illness called I-don’t-know-what-to-do-next-so-I-am-just-going-to-stop-and-do-nothing-itis. It’s very common among writers, though your temporary pause in writing is something you can get around. Here are some of the strategies I use to get around “writer’s block.”

I take a break. Sometimes, you just need a break. Your brain may be running at 100 miles an hour and you just need a minute to cool off. Your thoughts may just be too jumbled up. Go take a nap, or listen to music — just relax and then come back to your writing.

I go for a walk, or I change where I am sitting. This is one strategy I exercise (ha) often. Just the other day I was having problems getting into a piece, but when I got up and took a walk around my neighborhood, inspiration hit me. Sometimes, you just need to look at something else.

I read. By reading your old work, or reading what you have just written, your own words can trigger your writing. Or by reading a book with a similar writing voice to yours, you can start to feel the inspiration seep into you.

I work on something else. Maybe what you are writing about is just not what your writing brain wants to write about at that moment. Work on another piece for a bit, and then when you come back to your original piece, your writing juices will be flowing, and you’ll be warmed up enough to pick up the original piece.

I talk to someone about my ideas. Speaking can be a huge part of writing. Sometimes just talking about your work out loud with someone can suddenly jog new ideas.

I plow through. Keep writing. Your words may not be polished, but eventually you’ll hit your stride and the words will start to flow. You can always go back and revise the unpolished stuff.

Fun one: I take a shower. Interestingly enough, this just might be me, but I get some of my best ideas in the shower. There’s something magical in that warm morning water.