You’ve already devoured the books on November’s reading list, leaving you more determined than ever to write your own. But you’re stuck, and you’re not sure if it’s the familiarity of your desk or the constant distraction of social media that’s seemingly perpetually stunting your creativity. We’re here to tell you that even the best of the best experience writer’s block and that unmanageable ideas can still become a publishable piece of work. Six authors shared with us their solutions to this slump.
1. Walk it out. Gisela Hausmann cites Friedrich Nietzsche, who once said, “All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.” Hausmann, the woman behind The Little Blue Book for Authors, says a five-minute stroll is all she needs. Once ideas start flowing, she pulls out her smartphone to record herself as they appear.
2. Turn to technology. Crystal Henry, author of Naked Salsa, shares that the mindlessness of social media distracts her to the point of subconscious creativity: “My best writing ideas and creative thoughts come at night when I’m cruising Facebook or just about to doze off.” Procrastination can perhaps be productive after all.
3. Turn off technology. Joy Jones, whose most recent book is Private Lessons, tries the opposite tactic to Henry’s. She suggests avoiding going online, watching TV, and even reading (a scary thing for writers, we know!). “It’s amazing how many useful thoughts you get when your brain is not occupied with other peoples’ thoughts,” she remarks.
4. Think happy thoughts. This one may be easier said than done, because as author Carrie Aulenbacher notes, we are all our own worst critics. When she’s struggling, the writer of The Place Between Places and The Early Bird Cafe recites mantras to herself, such as, “I will finish writing this book,” or, “I am good enough to write this book.” As Aulenbacher explains, “When nobody else will tell me, I tell myself.”
5. Pace yourself. Nancy Gaines, who contributed to Success from the Heart, writes in what she calls “sprints.” This strategy involves writing continuously for 50 minutes and then taking a 10 minute break — regardless of how “in the flow” you are. By allotting time for breaks, you’ll ensure you don’t get burnt out.
6. Write anyway. Amber Fallon, writer of, most recently, TV Dinners from Hell, advises this tough-love approach. She will type up lists of her favorite foods, places she’s lived, etc. just to keep her fingers moving until she can begin producing content for the project she’s working on again. “Waiting around for ‘the muse’ is a sure way to never write a thing,” she states.
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