How to overcome artists block

When you get the blahs or blocks when you’re trying to write, do something to shake yourself up and get inspired. Below are some ideas to jolt you out of the doldrums and get you back on track. These ideas work for writers’ or artists’ block.

Do a free association exercise for three to five minutes. Get a pen and paper or a blank screen. (I usually go for pen and paper. I just like the feeling of words flowing out of my pen.) Write the first thing that comes to your mind. Don’t edit or proofread. Just write. Write about anything you think of. Write a list of words or paragraphs. Let it be a mishmash of your thoughts. When you’re done, look it over. There might be something worth saving. Sometimes, it’s funny; other times, it reveals a lot about your thoughts. Then give yourself permission to throw it away if it is not worth saving.

I found some really neat books of creating writing exercises. My favorites are PANNING FOR GOLD IN THE KITCHEN SINK: EVERYDAY CREATIVE WRITING by Michael C. Smith and Susan Greenberg and WILD MIND: LIVING THE WRITER’S LIFE by Natalie Goldberg. Sometimes, I pull out my copies and pick a page. They are full or warm-up exercises. You can also find a lot of free writing exercises online.

Make yourself an idea folder (or shoe box). I rip out pictures from magazines and newspapers. Sometimes, I include the results of a writing exercise. I peruse this collection of stuff sometimes for a spark of inspiration.

Go do something else that’s creative. Write a letter, work on a scrapbook, paint, or bake a cake. Sometimes, you have to step away for a little while.

Put on some fast music and turn it up loud. Take a five-minute dance or karaoke break.

Plan a lunch with a friend who inspires you. (Don’t pick an emotional vampire who’ll drag you down.)

Find someone or a group of folks who would be willing to be in a writer’s group. They can be inspiring and offer great feedback.

You’ll feel better.My Jack Russell’s always available for catch or a Frisbee break.I love its company sometimes, but the distraction is enough to derail or consume my writing time.


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