Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Conquering Writer's Block



Hi all,

As a writer it always seems that it is feast or famine - we may have days where we seem to have an endless supply of ideas and inspiration for articles, then suddenly it all dries up. How do we get our creativity back? Here are a couple of articles that may help you when you experience writer's block.

Happy writing,

DeAnna

Four Tips For Writers - Where To Find Ideas
By Donovan Baldwin
Many people watching a writer at work probably wouldn't even realize that he or she was actually working. While the physical act of putting words on paper or into a computer is easy to recognize as "work" one of the hardest parts of any writer's task is not always coming up with the words to express an idea. For many of us, the most difficult part is coming up with an idea to write about!
While creativity is generally believed to be something that someone is born with, and maybe it is, everybody has some sort of creative streak within...no matter how well hidden. The trick is to find ways to tickle that creativity so that it produces at least the germ of an idea. Many writers and artists find that once they have the initial hint of an idea, the work, whether it be a book or a statue, almost reproduces itself.
Below are 4 tips on how to wake up the sleeping giant of creativity within and put it to work.
1. Yoga and Meditation - Alternative Routes to Creativity
Most people want to attack a problem head on. For the artist or writer, however, that approach often just creates another problem. Do the words, "writer's block" mean anything to you? Hmmm? It seems that the harder we try to attack the creativity problem the harder and thicker the wall becomes between the conscious mind and the ideas that may be lurking just on the other side.
Yoga, meditation, long walks and other such physically relaxing and sometimes demanding activities actually tend to dissolve the barriers and allow us to access the ideas that have been hiding behind them. Here's another way to think of the process. Imagine ideas as small animals which become frightened and curl up defensively when they realize we are hunting them. When we appear to be ignoring them, they uncurl and expose themselves to our subconscious which in turn puts them on a fast elevator up to the conscious mind where they seem to appear out of nowhere.
2. Creativity Is Your Job - So Show Up For Work
Back in school, we were given study tips that often included this one; study at the same time and in the same place. That sounds a little like "showing up for work". Freelance writers in particular often fall prey to not having a place to go to and a time to be there. Of course, if the flash of brilliance comes at two in the morning, at breakfast, or while you are having sex, that's when you should write it down. Okay, delay that last one a little bit.
On the whole, however, to produce a somewhat steady stream of creativity, not to mention the output which should result there from, it is important to prepare an "office", even if it is a table on your patio. That's where you show up and expect your creative muse to meet you. Dock its pay if it is late.
3. Ideas Are Everywhere - Be Prepared For Them
In this crazy business of writing, or painting, or sculpting, ideas are all around. The secret is catching and keeping them. The chance comment of a friend, a sound bite on a TV news show, an obituary, the neighbor's new car, the local high school football team, your spouse's opinion on the TV sound bite, a paragraph in a chapter in a second hand book you bought for $2.99. That glimmer of an idea that later becomes a book, a poem, an article, or a short story can be found in any of these.
That's the good news.
The bad news is that once you catch on to this, you will find yourself with more ideas than you can remember or develop at any given moment. That's why you want to have a notebook, diary, or journal to jot down the basic idea and a quick development if that's available. You might also want to invest in a small recorder so that you can dictate ideas while driving or at other times that writing might be difficult. This could be a good idea if you have ever had the experience of waking up in the middle of the night with a fantastic idea, gone back to sleep, and then woke again in the morning to find that you have completely forgotten what it was.
4. Your Brain Is Already Full Of Ideas - Put Your Built-In Search Engine To Work
Your subconscious is a brown-noser. It just can't wait to show you what it's done for you while you were sleeping or busy with another problem. As you lay in bed at night waiting to fall asleep, tell it forcefully and directly to come up with some ideas while you're asleep. This is not 100% perfect, but it will produce fruit from time to time. Unfortunately, the ideas often appear in the middle of the night (see tip #3) although you will often awaken with a great idea.
By the way. Have you ever heard about great discoveries being made while people sleep? Many of these stories are true.
It often happens that concentrating on a problem and then letting go of it to work on other things often produces the same effect as "sleeping on it". More than one bright idea has occurred to someone after they let go of the problem that they were working on. While you are asleep, our brains are busy with the work of replenishing the various neurotransmitters wihc organize our neural networks which are essential to our remembering, learning, performance and problem solving. This activity includes tracking down and organizing seemingly random pieces of data into ideas!
There you are! Four tips just like I promised.
Oh! Where did I find the inspiration fot this small article on creativity?
Well, I was reading some notes I had made about a year ago, and....
------
Donovan Baldwin is a Central Texas writer. He is a University of West Florida alumnus (BA Accounting 73), a member of Mensa, and is retired from the U. S. Army after 21 years of service. His interests include nature, animals, global warming, health, fitness, and weight loss. He has posted several articles on fitness and weight loss at http://nodiet4me.com/articledirectory/
About the Author: Donovan Baldwin is a Dallas area writer. A graduate of the University of West Florida, Pensacola (1973), member of Mensa, and retired from the U. S. Army, he writes essays, articles, poetry, and product reviews for use on his own website, and for other webmasters. His blog on internet business and marketing, and related subjects, can be found at http://www.donovanbaldwin.blogspot.com.
http://www.donovanbaldwin.com/
Defeating Writer's Block
By Amanda Baker

If you're a writer, or a student, or anyone who's ever felt the desire or need to write, you know all about the dreaded thing known as writer's block. You sit at the computer, or you're at your desk with a pad and pen, ready to write. But nothing happens. Your mind is drawing a complete blank. You feel as if you'll never be able to string even five words together into something coherent. It's a tragic problem and many experience it. The sad thing about this particular monster, is that once it's bitten, it sinks its teeth in and begins to work its way into your mind. If you don't defeat it immediately, it can be around for quite some time. You'll find yourself thinking "why can I write anything?"
There are a few fabulous techniques for slaying this particularly ugly monster: Just write! Write absolutely anything, even if it doesn't pertain to what you want to write. It doesn't matter how bad it is, it's just important to continue. Even if doesn't even make sense! Who knows? Somewhere in all of the mess, there might be a few incredible pieces!
Take a walk! If weather permits it, a walk outside just might help you, as something you see might break the wall that's holding those good ideas hostage.
Remember when you were in kindergarten? That's right, take a nap! Some of the best ideas come from dreams. And it's been said that we often dream the solutions to our problems.
Meditation is an easy task, even if you've never practiced it before. There are many reliable resources that can teach you how to meditate. Like taking a nap, meditation offers the ability to quiet the mind long enough to find a solution or an idea.
Exercise! Exercise! Exercise! Do some yoga or aerobics, or maybe go to the gym and walk on a treadmill. While you're at it, observe the other people in the gym. See if that doesn't jog your brain into giving up those great ideas.
Sometimes, it just helps to talk to another writer. There's an expression that many authors use - "Only another author would really understand this." It's true - it's hard to explain to someone who doesn't write how sometimes our minds and our muses just don't want to work with us when it comes to our writing and coming up with great ideas. So, call another writer friend and talk about your writer's block. Sometimes two heads really are better than one.
It doesn't matter if you're writing a research paper, a love letter, or the next great international bestseller - everyone suffers from writer's block now and then, even people who don't consider themselves writers! The important thing to remember, no matter what option or techniques you use, is not to let the writer's block defeat you. You have to destroy the monster!
Amanda Baker writes for All Things Pondered: http://allthingspondered.com/
About the Author: Amanda Baker writes for http://tobeinformed.com">http://tobeinformed.com as well as http://allthingspondered.com
http://tobeinformed.com/ and http://allthingspondered.com/

5 comments:

  1. Those are some great tips... and I have to say I am totally on board with the nap thing. I do that and always have. Works remarkably well too

    tracy

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  2. Great articles!

    I picked up your button! (MBC button club)

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  3. I'm going to love your blog :) Looking forward to reading it more. I'm in WI and write too :)

    I'm following from MBC

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  4. im sure going to check out often here, as i am writing, too. thanks for sharing these things :)

    followed you back :)

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  5. Great article...I just started keeping a journal and force myself to write in it every day...I'm happily surprised when I finish and see that something I wrote can be translated into a blog post or other other. It helps me a lot.

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