Occasionally, I hit a spot where I just don’t feel like writing and nothing seems to flow. I’ll want to write forever, but I start 4 or 5 different pieces and they all end up incomplete. I can’t really get behind anything and every time I sit down to write and I’m just full of blah.
I hate those times but I know I’m not the only one that feels like that so instead of complaining, here are 5 ways I’ve found to break through writers block and the 1 question that helps me write forever.
Read Something Inspiring
One of the fastest ways to get inspired is to see other people do inspiring things. There’s something about watching other people do impossible things that makes you want to jump out of your seat and do something on your own.
You probably have your own inspiring people you follow but here are a few of my favorites:
It’s important to note, you need to be careful with this. Reading about inspiration or following inspiring people can be an addicting habit that distracts you from actually doing something inspiring [which is what we’re really after].
Watch A TED Talk
Video does something words just can’t sometimes and TED talks are some of the best video resources on the web. TED is a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. They bring speakers & thought leaders to speak, record them and put them all on their website for free. Whatever you’re interested in, you can find a video that will challenge you and make you think. Did I mention the fact that it’s all free? I can’t say enough good things about TED. In fact, you might want to stop reading this post and start watching some TED talks now. Don’t worry, I’ll still be here when you come back.
Change Your Location
Stop writing in the same spot. Maybe a desk is the best place to write. Maybe it’s not. A desk is probably not the best place for you to write. Get a good writing chair. Find a couch. Get outside. A change of scenery snaps you out of “business as usual” and forces you to think differently and thinking differently is how new ideas are born.
Get in the gym. Pump some iron. Go for a swim, a walk, a bike ride, just get some blood flowing. You’d be surprised how getting your body moving helps to get your mind moving as well. A moving mind has a lot of ideas. If you have 1 idea, you have something to write about. Then the only things left to do is…
Just Write The Stupid Thing
There’s a lot of talk about “finding your zone” and working when you work best and writing when you’re inspired, but sometimes you just have to write the stupid thing. Sit down, give yourself a deadline, and write it out. It’s a fight between you and the keyboard and don’t stop until you win.
Runners run. Painters paint. Writers write. Just because writing is a”creative art” doesn’t mean you can neglect the discipline of practice. You have to do stuff you don’t always feel like doing. You got to suck it up and write it and press publish when you say you don’t feel like publishing. You’ve got to ship it.
The 1 Question That Will Let You Write Forever
If you’ve got writers block and none of the things above help, here’s a good question to ask yourself:
Are you doing anything worth writing about?
It’s a good question to ask yourself regularly anyways and something that I try to be mindful of as I write here. Are you doing something cool, something interesting, something meaningful, something impossible?
If I can’t honestly answer that question with a solid “yes”, I know it’s time to find something that challenges me or helps other [or both!]. At that moment, I can choose to pick something from the the impossible list [all of which are meaningful and challenging to me] and start working towards it immediately. Put another way:
If your life was made into a story, would you want to read it?
If you answered “yes” to that, good job, you’re on the right track. Keep doing impossible things and you’ll find it gets easier to write when you’re doing something that deserves writing. If you can’t answer “yes” without your conscience sounding an alarm, there’s one more question you need to ask yourself: What are you going to do about it?