Hey there! This is Allyson, a co-editor of Opus, writing from the frigid shores of Lake Michigan.
I’m not exaggerating. I couldn’t feel my face when I walked into campus.
But I don’t want to focus on the freezing outside; today I want to talk about what it means when
we freeze as writers. You might call it something else—writer’s block. And while writers and
scholars may argue about whether or not writer’s block is “real” (reality is an existential
discussion I don’t have time to write about today, but we can go to the Good Earth and chat in
person sometime if you like), we’ve probably all experienced a kind of “block” where we didn’t or
couldn’t produce writing. Maybe it was fear, maybe we weren’t inspired; whatever it was writing
just didn’t happen.
So, I’ve made a list of some of my personal tips for working with those “block” moments or days.
I hope one will work for you or inspire you to find your own unblocking.
Write by hand
If you normally write on the computer, get out the pen/pencil/crayon and write on real
paper/receipt/envelope. Get your body involved in the writing process, a little mental wake up.
Get distraction free
Even if it means putting your phone across the room. You can’t write if you’re scrolling through
Facebook (which is another reason to write by hand! there is no Facebook on a Meijer receipt!).
This doesn’t mean do a million squats and run three marathons before you write. Maybe just get
up and stretch. Go for a bike ride (and take a notebook and pen with you). Go for a
walk/run/hike. If you’ve been sitting too long, your brain can sag and drag (I think those are the
scientific terms). Wake your body and brain up!
This is an especially helpful thing for me, because my brain gets cluttered with so many things
to take care of it can be hard to turn off those bells/whistles/reminders. Take five, ten, twenty
minutes to breathe with your eyes closed. You can listen to music, or be in silence. Let your
extra stuff go.
Find your go-to poem/story/monologue that hits you in the gut every time. The piece(s) that
remind you of what good writing looks like. Write the piece out or your favorite line or paragraph.
Feel what it feels like to write something good.
I hope this helps someone at some point. Good luck, fellow writers. You can do it. What you
have to say matters. Give yourself the space to say it.
Here’s something I found on the internet: credit goes to Google images