“I have nothing to write today.” That thought stopped me in my tracks during one of my better rowing sessions. What a challenge! Let’s walk around the idea of writing blocks until we find a point to start chipping away what stops us. If writing blocks are anything like sculpting blocks, then it could be as easy as screwing inhibition and starting, although if it were that easy, then there’d be nothing after the jump.
(Spoilers: There’s more!)
No matter the day or mindset, this is my writing process:
First, I resolve any distracting lingering duties: bills, chores, homework, email, anything really. Might be why I prefer writing at night? I’ve been incorporating rowing into my morning routine so my body is stretched before I write. This might also help reframe my mindset if I’m feeling too cerebral and self-conscious. Inviting my body to be slightly tired while writing help me be less fidgety. It’s just me, the keyboard, and my mind at work.
Next up is water. I can’t think well when I’m dehydrated. Drinking excessive coffee while writing crashes my brain after peak caffeination. Drinking liters of water helps prevent me from getting too wrapped up in moments. Using the restroom forces me away from the material. That reminds me; much better. Tidying up my biological needs helps allow me to focus on self-actualization. I even have a particular brand of nutrition bars I eat while writing.
That leads into getting into the writing mindset. I realized during college that if I listened to the album Symphony and Metallica, particularly “Bleeding Me,” while writing I could reveal some really cool ideas. Sensational upper echelon thinking, reserved for special occasions or real important work, and should not be overused. Other music has come close, with “Pirates” coming the closest. When the tuba and horn section kick in at two minutes and forty-three seconds…!
My writing blocks are usually instinctive inhibitions.
That’s when I don’t feel the sense of alignment between what I’m thinking in my brain and how I can convey it in English which I jokingly say is translating the ideas from Zombiepapeerian into English. That’s when I’ll do research, look up tangentially related ideas, or write casually about something else before returning to the topic at hand. Usually by then, and sentence by sentence, I’ll have completed the thought I needed to express.
Drawing was my creative outlet growing up. Before drifting into writing, I’d think about how my drawing skills would improve after time away. That can help in spurts. If I’m in the middle of writing something and can’t quite figure out the next piece, I’ll let it cook on the backburner, and return to the idea when it looks ready to continue.
Above all, I’d advocate that you continually work at your craft. Daily, if you can.