Do you enjoy writing, or do you dread it like a root canal? Every writer has experienced writer’s block at some point, and it’s enough to make you want to crawl under the covers and hide from your laptop! Here are three super helpful tips I have recommended to my clients to remove writer’s block.
Tip #1: Unpinch It
In many cases, when you have writer’s block, it’s because you’ve got some substantial expectation around the outcome. Whether it’s your first novel or short story, an email to prospective client or cover letter for your resume, or even a simple blog post…if you’ve got expectations around the outcome, it pinches your creativity flow, leaving you feeling stuck and stifled. Underlying expectations and “mind chatter” might sound like this:
- I’m down to the wire on deadline, so it’s got to be fast and good
- Everything is riding on this
- This HAS to be persuasive
- This is my big shot
- This is my debut
- This is where my next clients will come from
- This is the job I really want
- I need the money
- I need this opportunity
- It has to be good
- People will judge me by this
When you can take a moment to recognize the vast importance you’ve put on this particular piece of writing, and choose to let that go (perhaps by reminding yourself this is just a first draft, or that you have to start somewhere, etc.) it will unpinch that flow, freeing you up to write with greater ease.
Tip #2: Don’t Edit
One of my first writing coaches advised me to name my “inner editor.” That’s the chick who criticizes what you write as you’re writing it. She says things like “that’s not what that word means” or “you’ve already said ‘awesome’ twice in this paragraph. Are you a fourth grader?” or even seemingly harmless things like, “now backspace backspace backspace to fix that typo.” To be honest, I didn’t name my own inner editor, but it’s easy for me to turn her off when I’m writing (probably because I believe there’s a time and place for everything). Inner editors aren’t necessarily bad, but they have no business in your first draft. The Inner Editor is very valuable once you’ve written a draft and need to tweak it to make it sound amazing. But when the Inner Editor butts in while you’re trying to just pour out your thoughts and ideas onto paper, it interrupts your flow and causes you to get stuck. And when she gets TOO noisy, she can make you not want to write at all, causing you to feel stuck enough to have writer’s block. Before you sit down to write, send Edna (or Lydia, or Hazel, or Malcolm, or whatever name you might call that inner editor) out for coffee. Let the inner editor know that their contributions are valued, but MUST wait for the editing phase, NOT the initial writing phase. This usually works like a charm, and you can write in peace and edit later.
Tip #3: Ground
Sometimes we get writer’s block because we have so many ideas and we feel like we don’t know where to start or how to get it all down on paper. In my experience, I have found that we each have different places from which writing flows. For me, when I’m writing something inspired (like fiction, or storytelling, even while relating a true story that actually happened to me or my client), my writing is coming from my crown chakra. On the other hand, when I’m writing something I know well (such as a how-to book, or instructional text of some sort), that writing comes from somewhere between my solar plexus and my sacral chakra. It’s like it comes from the center of my being. When an individual has writer’s block, I usually find that they are not grounded when they sit down to write, or that they have a lot of swirly energy around their head, making it difficult to calmly center and just start writing. By grounding your energy, you allow that swirly energy to settle, so that you can tap into your specific source of writing (depending on what works for you, and perhaps also, what kind of writing you’re doing). I think this is also why I most enjoy writing in my home office, because it is by far the most consistently grounded room of my home. Grounding also helps alleviate the attachment to or fears around a specific outcome (as defined in tip #1 above). Curious how to ground? Grab a copy of Get Grounded and become masterful at centering your energy.
There are many more ways to resolve writer’s block, but if you’re suffering from it right now, any of these three should give you a quick fix! Post a comment and let me know your favorite one, or the one you plan to try first, and then comment and let us know how it goes!