Heather Wenonah Ellis
Exercise the writer’s block right out
"Come on; pencil make words."
Oh no! I'm staring at a blank screen. I can't seem to make words appear on the screen. I don't know where to begin? What writing habit should I follow? How much do I write to be considered productive?
Have you ever felt like these questions came out of nowhere to flood you with overwhelm?
Writer's block can hit you at any moment. It happens to all of us, whether you are an accomplished author or a new writer starting in the industry. It can even strike you when you're in the middle of writing your next novel.
So, what's the cure-all?
Honestly, I don't think there is one. However, there are some things you can do to keep it at bay.
Take a look at your writing routine. When do you spend time writing? Is it in the morning, the afternoon, or evening?
Notice when you are feeling energized and when you're feeling tired. Is it happening around the same time of day for you?
This experience will help clue you in on your circadian rhythm. What is that exactly? Well, according to the National Sleep Foundation, your circadian rhythm is your sleep/wake cycle. It's like a 24-hour internal clock that runs on the inside of your brain, cycling from tiredness to awakeness at regular intervals.
Once you've figured out when the best time of day is for you to write, you want to create a steady writing schedule.
"When I am working on a book or a story, I write every morning as soon after first light as possible. You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and know what will happen next, and you stop and try to live through until the next day when you hit it again."
— Ernest Hemingway
Like Papa Hemingway, I like to write in the morning and throughout the afternoon. I find this schedule works best for me. No one is around to bother me, and I can sit still with my creative thoughts.
But what if those creative thoughts don't formulate into any productivity in my writing routine?
Here is when I step away from the computer, and I go to exercise the writer's block out.
As writers, we can sit in front of a computer all day focused on our work, eating unhealthy, with poor circulation not getting enough oxygen to our brain. Without good oxygen flow to our mind, our creativity will be flat.
"Obesity is one of the leading factors of early death…Globally, 13% of adults aged 18 years and older were obese in 2016. Obesity defined as having a body-mass index equal to or greater than 30."
~Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser (2020) - "Obesity." Published online at OurWorldInData.org. Retrieved from: 'https://ourworldindata.org/obesity' [Online Resource]
Here are some simple ways to help you increase your creative stimuli.
Judy Blume likes to write in the early morning, according to Judy Blume: A Biography by Kathleen Tracy.
On a typical day, she'll write one scene at a time, referring back to the notebook she keeps for every story. She calls the journal her security blanket because it keeps her from facing a blank page alone.
After that, she spends time riding her bike, kayaking, or taking a walk.
Hmm? It seems like great advice for us writer's to follow. She only writes one scene at a time. Not more, but one.
I started following this advice and find that it helps me stay focused on my writing and not fall into the pressure of having to produce a manuscript. I want to enjoy the process of writing and living the writer's life. I need to LIVE it! Not just wish it to come true.
Working yourself into a writing routine that works for you will take some refining. Allow that to occur and be patient with yourself.
How I like to get the creative juices flowing is I want to get up in the morning and go for a long walk at the beach. I'll grab a protein bar and some water. I usually take my dog, Jasper, and we head out to the beach path. I generally walk around five miles. Jasper, well, he mostly strolls about with me in his Gen 7 Pets stroller. He's a senior dog, and he certainly cannot walk five miles like me. He loves his stroller.
Sometimes we will join the free yoga class out on the bluff. He loves to hang out and watch people and all the dogs surrounding us.
I find ideas trickle in about halfway through my walk. I'll capture them on my phone in the notes section to refer back to later when I'm in front of my computer.
It's essential to capture your fleeting thoughts. Put them in a notebook, as Judy Blume does. Or transfer to your phone by speaking into your notes section.
When I get back, I make me a green smoothie drink to get my sugar levels back up so I can think clearly.
See, I told you it was simple. Sometimes, I'll go down and splurge on a smoothie at the local Nature Juice bar.
The spinach and leafy greens are rich in magnesium. Your brain needs a boost in blood flow. Magnesium helps to dilate the blood vessels.
Oranges are rich in flavonoids and help to improve memory and cognition. It's also vital for your brain cells and eyesight.
Electrolytes are essential for rehydrating your cells. What are electrolytes anyway? What makes up electrolytes are sodium, phosphate, calcium, chloride, potassium, and magnesium. You get them from the foods you eat and the fluids you drink.
I buy packets from a wellness company and put them in my drink. You can find pre-measured packets of electrolytes at your local grocery stores like Whole Foods. You could also use coconut water too. It's nature's electrolytes.
After I unwind from my long walk by stretching, hydrating both my dog and me, I sit down in front of my computer with my notes and get to work on writing.
I find this to be the most productive day of writing for me by exercising the writer's bock out!
Hey, connect with me and share with me how you exercise the writer's block out. I'd love to hear it!
For further reading take a look at the following articles:
Seven Steps to Generate A Good Story and Connect With Your Audience
How To Set Up And Optimize Your Book Cover
Do You Know Where You're Going
Seven Step Process to Create a Novel