I won’t lie; last week was a tough one. I’m not a writer who suffers much from writer’s block but by Friday afternoon it had hit me like a ton of bricks. I drafted two blog posts over the course of an hour but they were both worthless. I grudgingly deleted them, acknowledged that the well was dry, and turned off my computer, and my brain, for the weekend.
Five Ways to Cure Writer’s Block
In the summer months, outdoor activity can be a great way to shake up your brain and get the ideas flowing again. I’m not talking about running a 10K or putting on Spandex and biking 30 miles in the heat and humidity. Do something you enjoy mentally as well as physically. I like to take the dog for a long walk or a hike early in the morning, swim in the many lakes and gorges that surround us, or play an outdoor game like badminton. Kayaking, canoeing, or Mini Golf are also highly recommended!
Take advantage of the short summer growing season
Shucking corn or peas, picking summer fruits, or harvesting vegetables and herbs from your garden or local CSA can be soothing and thought-provoking. Canning, making jam, or concocting colorful, healthy summer dishes is another way to encourage creativity and allow your thoughts to wander in productive directions.
Read something easy
When I find myself blocked or burnt out, it’s hard to concentrate or focus on a lengthy novel. That’s when I turn to local publications or magazines to check out the news, latest trends, or what topics are most on readers’ minds. The pieces are the perfect length for my short attention span and often contain all sorts of ideas for potential stories.
Get together with friends and relatives. There’s always lots to talk about and many stories to share over meals, games (Scrabble!) or campfires. If that doesn’t net you some interesting ideas you can always ask people what they think would make a good article. Even if you never use their suggestions, they’ll probably get your sluggish brain moving again.
Do nothing at all
Unplug for a few hours (or even a day or entire weekend). For many of us this is harder than it should be but, once you commit to it, you’ll be surprised how good it feels not to be bombarded by constant sounds and images. I highly recommend lying in a hammock, floating on a tube in the water, or stargazing. If you can’t do any of those, vegetating in a comfortable lawn chair for several hours will do the trick as well. If you’re not a meditator, just let your thoughts wander and see where they end up. Watch the birds, butterflies, and crickets as they go about their daily business or listen to your favorite music or the water lapping against the shore. If a few hours aren’t enough, don’t rush yourself. Summer is drawing to a close. Allow yourself the space you need to get back to the writing life with renewed vigor once September arrives.