Writers block is an illusion. Yup. That’s right. It doesn’t exist. Many of us writers give this illusory conundrum too much power. Then again, if writers block is an “illusion,” why do we let it effect us so much?
I have been a “writer” since I was 15 years old. I didn’t know it but I was. This realization came to me only after my sophomore composition class teacher told me I have a “voice.”
Now I didn’t know what that meant at the time but apparently having a voice these days means a distinct and particular way of communicating your message.
I had to do a book report on “The Catcher In The Rye,” and I was tasked with writing about what the protagonists perception of authenticity meant. I had no idea what this teacher wanted from me but I complied, turned in the report.
I got it back with a big fat “F” on it but with a toothy smile he said “Andres, you really have a voice. You should consider writing sometime in the future, maybe study writing in college?”
In my 15 year old mind I all I can think about was that “F” in bold red ink, not his musings about studying writing. Intuitively I knew that you can’t study writing.
Writing, to me, is just something you do. It comes out. It’s a way of communicating.
Writing comes to me as easily as speaking my mind out loud, until it doesn’t. This is where the famous ” writers block” steps on to the scene.
I’ve read some of the typical writers block “how tos” and they’ve never really helped me much.
They were too straight forward and uniform. In the past week I’ve read a few articles on medium about other people’s interesting writing processes. I see that their audience jives with it so I figured I’d be a follower this one time and do the same.
I’m going to share with you 3 unusual ways to break the illusory writers block.
1. Write while at the gym will break through writers block
I had just quit my job. I was stressed out. I decided to go to the gym to blow off stream.
A month prior to that I committed to blogging. Building an online brand meant I needed to get serious about my website hosting and all that jazz.
During this stressful time I had been suffering from writers block.
Too many things were on my mind. That’s the thing about writers block, like the ego, it doesn’t exist. But we have to realize this for ourselves.
In the middle of a 20 rep bench set, an idea came to mind. Just like that, out of the blue I knew what to write. The writers block that was once looming over me seemed to have “vanish” just like that.
I ended up writing a whole 1400 word article while training my ass off at the gym. Writers block had nothing on me at that point.
How did I do this? I don’t really have much particulars other than the fact that I wrote in 60–90 second spurts as fast as I could in between sets. This allowed for me to get ahead of my ego and therefore increase the distance between writers block and I.
Now you may be wondering if I got a good workout in, I did and here’s why. I wrote as long as my prescribed rest periods allowed. Which means that I didn’t spend much time resting and I didn’t spend much time thinking either.
Here’s why I think it worked:
- I got out of my mind and into my body – this is similar to the way that people pace back and forth when working on some complex problem. The physical activity gets the mind out of the way and allows for the reception of ideas that are being beamed in from the ether. Writers block and stagnation are one and the same. If you are stagnant, chances are writers block is just around the corner.
- Parkinson’s Law – this concept states that work fills the time allotted to it. I was able to get out of my own way and therefore defeat writers block. Immediately I got an idea that I needed to act upon quickly for fear of losing it, you know how it is. I also needed to get a good session in. So I decided to prescribe these 60–90 second rest intervals to get my writing done, all within 90 minutes total of training.
These are the only ways I can think of right now as to why writing at the gym, while actually training allowed for me to break my writers block.
2. Beat writers block by getting pumped with as much caffeine as you can handle(this is just advice).
I don’t like to consume caffeine after 5pm but if I haven’t written anything in a while and I’m sure I have writers block, a cup or two or three or four, usually helps me get the juices flowing. You also want to write fast. As I said earlier. You want to put distance between you and writers block as much as possible.
Again, this is not the safest way but it works.
I don’t like writing in the morning. Night time writing is the most productive for me so chugging coffee as early in the evening as possible is the way to go in order for me to beat out writers block.
Alright, you got me, this is not the most unusual way to break through writers block but the main idea of these little “tips” is that you have to get out of your own way.
I don’t really believe in writers block. I already told you that I think it is as much of an illusion as the ego because it is the ego.
The ego is as nebulous as vapor.
When it clears we can see what’s behind it. Just like seeing the sun when the clouds part during the day.
Creativity is an energetic phenonmenon.. We just have to get out of the way.
3. Jump out of a plane(with a parachute)
Back in 2017 I had severe writers block for half the year. I usually dealt with writers block by writing fitness articles, something cerebral, logical and didn’t require much creativity.
I wrote one or two fitness articles in the first quarter of the year then decided to stop writing all together for a few weeks.
As I went to work to carry on my life as per usual, in the back of my mind I was waiting for that idea to come, nothing.
I decided to do something crazy for my 30th birthday.
I felt the urge to get crazy. The monotony of life was killing me.
At this point I suggested to my friends that we jump out of a plane. They thought I was nuts.
After we went sky diving, life started moving fast out of nowhere. I moved into my condo, I got a raise and best of all a flood of ideas come rushing at me.
Again, this is because I got out of my own way. Something about careening to earth at 120mph calls on the muse for ideas or something.
If you are truly committed to this craft, you have to do what you have to do.
Writers block is called writers BLOCK for a reason. There is a blockage there and it is YOU.
If none of these things mesh with you, find your own unusual method of getting out of your own way.